Break It Down: Composting
Introduced to Kroon Hall

Thanks to a waste audit performed by the F&ES Environmental Stewardship Committee, five compost bins have been placed within the school’s Kroon Hall.
kroon compost
Courtesy of Enviromental Stewardship Committee
Students from the F&ES Environmental Stewardship Committee performed a waste audit in Kroon Hall, finding that roughly 39 percent of the building's waste was biodegradable.
It took longer than expected, but building-wide composting will finally be introduced in Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies’ (F&ES) Kroon Hall this month — it just required some digging through the trash.
 
Five compost bins will be located throughout the building, each placed next to bins for trash and recycling. The bins and the compostable bags within the bins were approved by the Yale University Office of Facilities, which will manage removal and transportation to a commercial biodigestion facility in Southington, Conn.
 
“We have been working toward this for a long time at F&ES,” said Sara Smiley Smith, Assistant Dean of Research and Sustainability. “The solution we’ve built required collaborating with many units here at Yale to devise a system that incorporates the priorities of our students, staff, faculty, custodial team, sustainability office, and our partners at the biodigestion facility.”
 
Smiley Smith said F&ES was not initially thought of as a target for composting, due to the lack of food service on the campus. To make the case that composting was needed at F&ES, she said, required the school’s Environmental Stewardship Committee (ESC) to back up the requests with data.
We’ve worked so hard to bring reliable composting to Kroon and built some great partnerships along the way, so I feel confident that we are ready to handle this responsibility as a community. 
— Sara Smiley Smith, Assistant Dean of Research and Sustainability
Lucas Isakowitz ’20 M.E.M. and the rest of the committee — a group of students dedicated to improving sustainability and wellness at F&ES — sifted through three days’ worth of waste collected in Kroon Hall, and found that roughly 39 percent of the weight was attributed to biodegradable materials. The data collected compelled the committee to move forward with composting with the support of their Yale partners, which Isakowitz said will go a long way in reducing solid waste at the school.
 
“I’m fascinated by how we can effectively communicate environmental issues to create some behavioral or political change, and I think our committee does that at a microlevel here at F&ES,” Isakowitz said. “We look at these environmental problems that we are facing and try to pinpoint small solutions to see what works for our school community.”
 
The reduction of waste at F&ES will also give the school a head-start on Yale’s Pay-As-You-Throw program, which began a five-month pilot program in January. The program, the first of its kind at a U.S. university, will provide financial incentives for reducing waste across the Yale campus.
 
For now, Smiley Smith said, the key is promoting the proper use of composting at F&ES and the importance of avoiding contamination. Isakowitz and the ESC will perform an additional waste audit by the end of the semester to see how the program is progressing.
 
“The success of this program relies on the work of our community to be mindful about their waste management,” said Smiley Smith. “We’ve worked so hard to bring reliable composting to Kroon and built some great partnerships along the way, so I feel confident that we are ready to handle this responsibility as a community.”
PUBLISHED: March 1, 2019
 

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