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Greener Pastures BCC Takes on Composting

Jenna Santacroce encourages everyone to separate their food waste. // Nitin Shukla

Devon Campbell, Contributing Writer

Starting in our very own Bergen Community College cafeteria, Jenna Santacro is on track to be an environmental studies major, and she’s helping lead the charge for less food waste in our landfills.

She’s set up a separate bin to place any food waste (including, but not limited to general food scraps, bones or any peels/shells) which goes directly into the in-vessel composter behind the cafeteria to become soil. This plan has been in the works since the summer and gained traction with the help of Professor PJ Ricatto, the AVE club and the Green Team, at the start of this fall semester.

Previously, the only food waste to go into the composter came from the cafeteria employees, while the food waste from the student body was just thrown into the garbage. Santacroce says that within one to two weeks, soil should be made from the composter, as it takes about that long for the biodegradable waste to break down.

This is a change of pace according to Santacroce, as last semester the AVE club and the Green Team were more focused on fundraising last year. It was also more education based, utilizing workshops and summit-type events to raise awareness for the cause. However, this semester is more focused on “real, substantial change”, according to Santacroce. She is confident that more students will join both the AVE club and the Green Team, as it is becoming more apparent that the way our Earth is being used is unsustainable.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just on the activists to be forward thinking. According to The Washington Post, a large amount of the emissions that we produce comes from our decomposing food waste, emitting carbon dioxide, methane and more. It is up to the general consumers to be more responsible with their food and food waste.

For example, buying smaller portions of food so you can effectively decide if you need more is a great alternative to buying a large amount of food and wasting the parts you don’t eat. It’s these kind of small things that make a difference when done on a larger scale. Another extremely simple way to cut down on the general waste we throw away is to cut down on paper usage. In the age of technology, it’s extremely easy to have most of your resources (textbooks, reading materials, etc.) on a computer or tablet.

Disposable plastic bottles and utensils have also begun to interfere with the natural world around us, and while sometimes plastic forks and knives are a necessary evil, reusable water bottles are an eco-friendly and cheaper option to consuming multiple plastic bottles of water a day. 

The importance of reducing our waste is more important now than ever, and being informed on these types of issues does a world of good.

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