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UMass Ups Compost Efforts

AMHERST, Mass. (WGGB) – Going green at University of Massachusetts is now easier.  The Blue Wall cafe in the campus center has added three compost bins to reduce waste.

The effort on campus began two years ago when the school started using composting products in all the eating areas. The only thing that can’t be composted are their soup cups.

“Cups, straws, plates, napkins, everything is compostible and needs to go in the compost where it’s brought to a local farm,” said the Sustainability Manager at UMass, Ezra Small.

Two weeks ago the school took things a step further by adding the bins. They hired staff to show students and staff how to make sustainable choices.

“I think it’s a great idea because I didn’t know that all the things in the Blue Wall were compostible until they had these people standing there teaching us about it,” said student Samantha Williams.

Getting the bins was a big investment.  Each one of these bins costs $3,000; something the school says they hope will pay off in the future.

“We pay roughly three times what you would normally pay for disposables to buy compostible product,” said Van Sullivan, manager of the Blue Wall.  “We sink a lot of money to it in the front end. So it means a lot to me that we’re capturing those goods and selling them as compost later down the road.”

The system is giving good results. The cafe would have 60 bags of trash and 15 bags of compost before the bins.  That’s now been reversed and is saving the school money because they no longer have to pay to remove the trash.

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