Making Campus More Sustainable with Food Waste

by Sarah Russo

Syracuse University Food Services has implemented practices over the years that are aimed to help aid sustainability on campus, including using reusable to-go containers, composting food waste in the dining centers, buying local products when possible, and working with students to redistribute unused, quality food into the community.

The SU campus composting program has recycled nearly 3,900 tons of  consumer waste since the program began in 2010, according to the SU food services website

But how exactly does Syracuse University’s compost program work? 

  1. SU dining halls and cafes collect food that’s been discarded throughout the day. This includes all the food students sort and throw away while eating in the dining halls. 
  2. The collected waste is then sent to Amboy Compost Site in Camillus, N.Y. This is where the actual composting begins. 
  3. Then in 30 days, the compost cycle is complete. SU’s website says “the recipe for compost is simple: fresh air, yard and food waste, and time.” 

There is signage posted around food centers encouraging us to sort food scraps after our meals. And you’ve probably noticed it, but do students actually do that? In dining halls, students can sort their garbage by food scraps and napkins, trash, and plastics. Take the extra 5 seconds to make sure you’re doing your part. 

How to Practice Sustainability in Your Dorm 

Follow the recycling and trash guides

These signs can be found in your dorm’s trash room. Take a look and try your best to follow along. 

Buy organic

If you are buying food for your dorm, try to purchase natural and organic foods. These are made with methods that can benefit the environment and avoid many synthetic inputs. Also if you’re buying food with lots of excess packing, make sure you’re recycling! 

Stock up with reusable dishware

Purchase reusable cups, plates, bowls, silverware, and even cloth napkins! If you are going to eat in your dorm try to bring your own reusable to-go containers in the dining hall to make the meal as sustainable as possible. 

How to Practice Sustainability On Campus 

Opt to dine in whenever possible

Instead of grabbing those to-go containers with plastic silverware, sit in the dining hall and save the extra waste! Plus you can hang with friends or work on some homework during lunchtime.

Invest in a reusable water bottle and coffee mug

We love hydro flasks, but any brand will do. Use the campus water refill stations to fill up your water bottle throughout the day.

Eat less meat

One of the fastest and arguably easiest ways to lower collective greenhouse gas emissions is to just eat less meat. Start with meatless mondays and see what more you can do. 

As students, we can do our part and follow through with the instructions given for recycling and trash sorting on campus. But there is also so much more we can be doing to be sustainable at Syracuse University. This list is just a starting point. 

This is our campus and it’s our earth: if you want it to look its best, be conscious about your everyday choices. Together, we can make SU an eco-friendly and sustainable campus community.

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