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The Daily Tar Heel

With blue recycling bins dotting every hallway on campus, UNC has certainly earned its ‘A’ for the second year in a row in the Food and Recycling category of the College Sustainability Report Card.

With new composting programs springing up across campus, UNC has even started to expand options for sustainably dealing with waste.

Carolina Dining Services has composted more than 4,300 tons of food scraps since it began its back-of-house operations in Top of Lenoir and Rams Head Dining Hall since 2000 and 2005, respectively.

Even the waste from Alpine Bagel gets composted.

Now CDS is handing the reins to the students with the launch of a pilot program in Bottom of Lenoir. Compost bins have been set up next to Freshens since Sept. 17, giving students a new way to dispose of waste.

All Freshens products are compostable, including the containers and cups. The containers from 1.5.0. are also compostable. Everything collected is sent to the Brooks Compost Facility and turned back into usable material.

It’s not just the dining halls that are jumping into the compost heap feet first.

The Sustainability Living and Learning Community in Morrison Residence Hall has a successful compost program, where participants are issued bins for food scraps that are collected every week. The materials are taken to HOPE Gardens, where they are used to grow food for the Chapel Hill homeless community.

Student Government’s environmental affairs committee plans to expand dorm composting to new residence communities this year.

The Greek Sustainability Council also wants to set up composting in sorority and fraternity kitchens.

But you don’t have to wait for these programs to be brought to you. A small compost bin costs less than $5, affordable on even a tightwad’s budget. Student composting could save a huge amount of food waste per year.

Some might be hesitant to start composting because they don’t know what to do with waste once it’s in the bin— after all, rotting banana peels and decomposing apple cores might not be appealing to guests.

The Carolina Campus Community Garden is one answer. The garden, located behind the Carolina Inn, accepts fruit and vegetable scraps for composting.

They also take composted eggshells and coffee grounds (and let’s be honest, coffee is almost its own food group for UNC students). Just don’t throw any animal products, such as meat or dairy, into the compost container; non-biodegradable materials like plastic, glass and metal can’t be taken by the garden either.

Waste not, want not. If the goal of environmentalism is to minimize our impact on the Earth, composting is basically a perfect solution: Literally taking the leftovers from what feeds us and putting it back in the soil to create more nourishment.

Holly Beilin is a columnist from the Daily Tar Heel. She is a junior global studies major from Weston, Fla. Contact her at

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