CoGro to compost

Staff will begin in February

Common Ground head manager Sam Guertin says Common Ground incurs a small extra cost for their cups and utensils are all biodegradable and compostable.
Common Ground head manager Sam Guertin says Common Ground incurs a small extra cost for their cups and utensils are all biodegradable and compostable.

Common Ground is planning a new composting system that could cut waste output in half.

“Hopefully by the beginning of February we’ll have the supplies in and be able to start implementing this,” said Sam Guertin, Common Ground Head Manager.

Common Ground management requested composting bags from their supplier Gordon Food Services this month. The cost of implementing the program is still unknown.

“The suppliers said as soon as they have found something for us, they will let us know,” Guertin, ArtSci ’11, said.

The initiative has been in the works since the creation of the Commission of the Environment and Sustainability last year, headed by commissioner Adam DiSimine. “[DiSimine] did contact us in the summer ... asking if this is something we’d be willing to do, to implement a composting system,” Guertin said.

She added that the reason the composting initiative didn’t happen earlier was due to the yearly turnover of staff in the coffee shop.

“We couldn’t get it started at the beginning of the year ... it wasn’t like we weren’t interested, we were pretty busy for the first little while.”

Guertin said she’s excited to see the amount of waste that will be cut by the new system, adding that more than just lettuce, tomatoes and coffee grounds can be composted.

“Our forks, knives, spoons, cups, java jackets, lids; everything is biodegradable,” she said. “That’s something that’ll be tossed into the compost bin.”

Common Ground pays two cents extra per biodegradable cup, Guertin said. Biodegradable utensils also cost more.

She also said there is an extra cost for the coffeehouse to compost because they require heavy duty brown paper bags with an inside lining to be able to handle the volume of composting.

“We’re looking for alternatives from our suppliers, Gordon Food Services,” she said.

Guertin estimated that Common Ground will save on at least three bags of garbage per day with the new system.

“At least half of the stuff that we bring downstairs is probably compostable.”

Guertin said the composting bags will be used in the kitchen first before they are moved to the outside serving area for customers to use.

“We’re going to train our staff to use the composting bags and hopefully come up with a way to make it easier for customers,” she said. “We would try to have something out by March for customers.”

TAPS head manager, Fay Yachetti, said if AMS pub services were to implement a similar composting system, there would be a space issue.

“We don’t have a very big kitchen at all,” Yachetti, ArtSci ’11, said of the QP facility. “It’s something that maybe next year’s team could implement.”

While she said there were discussions about starting composting at TAPS this year, the system would have needed to be implemented earlier in the year due to space restrictions.

— With files from Katherine Fernandez-Blance and Savoula Stylianou

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