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Office of Sustainability chalks campus, posts infographics to inform students of composting rules

Following numerous bins of compost having to go to the trash, the Office of Sustainability took to Instagram to post information about composting, according to a post on Sep. 13. They have also written numerous messages on campus sidewalks in chalk, reminding people about the importance of sustainability, composting and having a green campus. 

On Sep. 13, the Brandeis Office of Sustainability posted pictures of bags, boxes, pizza boxes and trash bags, among other things, on their Instagram, sustainable.brandeis. According to the post, the pictures came from the hauler who takes Brandeis’ compost. According to the post “compost from res[idence] halls keeps getting rejected by our composter and has to go straight to the trash.” The Office of Sustainability then reminded people that compost is food and certified compostable items only. 

On Sep. 23, the Office once again took to Instagram to post more photos of compost bins full of trash bags and other items that are not compostable, including bottles, tissues and drink cups. According to the description of the post, all of the items in those bins had to go to the trash, even the things that are compostable. The post was concluded with an infographic that shows that the only things that should be going into the compost bins are food and items labeled “compostable.” On campus, green bins are for compost, blue bins are for recycling while black bins are for trash. 

The post also includes a QR code that leads to their waste guide, which gives members of the Brandeis community information on what to do with their waste. The guide gives users four basic rules of thumb: “When in doubt, throw it out,” “Keep recycling clean,” “No plastic bags or plastic film, except in grocery store collection boxes” and “No cords, ropes, hoses, or anything that can tangle.” On the page there is also a link to Recyclopedia, which tells users what to do with the particular waste in question; a user can simply look up the item they have doubts about, and it will tell them what to do with it. There is also a table which outlines the basic items and where they go, among other infographics on composting.

Following the rejected compost, the Office of Sustainability wrote numerous reminders for students around campus; chalked signs included “Compost = Food Waste Only! Nothing Else!” and “Green Bins = Food Waste Only!” among others. 

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, composting is “the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants.” In order for composting to be successful, there can only be items in the bins that decompose quickly.

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