Kahn Hall Pilots Campus-Wide Compost Program


Abe Frato

Kahn Hall now features compost receptacles, which students can use to compost accepted materials.

Kahn Hall now has compost bins located on the first floor and two additional bins will on all other floors. The program is sponsored by the Office of Environmental Sustainability and the Resource Conservation Team. 

“The Kahn Hall composting pilot program is the first residential collection spot on campus but will be expanded to other residential buildings in the coming months,” Sustainability Manager Heather Adelman wrote in an email to the Review. “The Office of Environmental Sustainability and the Resource Conservation Team started this pilot with the intent to gather information over the next few months on what works and what needs improvement before expanding to other dorms.”

The compost bins will serve as a way for students to discard food, compostable materials, and other scraps. These will then enrich the campus’ soil after the items are broken down into soft materials. The Office of Environmental Sustainability is thinking about potential concerns such as issues with the physical collection and removal processes for custodial staff and possible contamination. 

“Contamination is a big deal,” Adelman wrote. “If we have too many non-compostable items in our bins, we run the risk of losing service! As such, we want to be very diligent to only put items in the compost that we are sure are compostable. A good motto is ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’”

Barnes Nursery’s Huron Compost Facility, a local commercial composting company, will pick up and process the materials, allowing the facility to compost a large selection of items. Unlike a regular compost pile, students are able to place items such as greasy pizza boxes or waxed papers as they are going to a facility that can handle a large variety of items. This flexibility will permit students to compost at a higher rate than they would otherwise be able to.

The Office of Environmental Sustainability is keeping a close watch on how the program in Kahn runs, specifically charting how much contamination is in the bins and how students respond to having the bins. Kahn houses a student population particularly dedicated to composting and sustainability. 

“They added compost in Kahn, and honestly, I didn’t expect it to be there, but I am happy to see it,” said Abby Fiedler, a first-year College student living in Kahn. “I am happy because it’s at least one more thing that is a little bit eco-friendly in the dorm.”

The compost bins are one of the many commitments the College has implemented to reach its overall goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. The Office of Environmental Sustainability is looking for ways to rescue waste from landfills. The Office also hopes to expand into other dorms starting in January during Winter Term.