Wells Receives Grant for Bioplastics Integration

April 28, 2017
Funding from the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling will support and expand food waste composting in the campus dining program.
compostable cup and straw with menu for the well

Wells College's Center for Sustainability and the Environment has earned a grant award from the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Inc.’s (NYSAR3) College Council Program. The grant will support bioplastics integration in dining operations to enhance the new food waste composting program on campus.

With the support of this grant, staff in the Dining Hall is integrating compostable materials in place of typical landfill waste such as plastic straws and soup cracker packaging. This change, along with other recent successes including the dining hall’s exclusive use of reusable serviceware, bulk condiment dispensers, and separation of compost in both the kitchen prep and dish return, will allow Wells to reduce contamination of food waste diverted into composting and continue reducing the amount of landfill waste produced by dining services.

The campus pub The Well will also benefit from the expanded program. Waste from the pub will be added to the Dining Hall’s pilot compost hauling service, and they will also convert to bioplastics for eating utensils, beverage containers, condiment cups, and straws.

“Substituting compostable bioplastics in the dining hall and pub will help further reduce sources of possible contamination of our compostable stream, which our hauler Natural Upcycling has commended as being more pure than that of other regional colleges who have been composting food service waste much longer,” said director of the Center for Sustainability and the Environment Marian Brown.

“Wells has seized the opportunity to model best practices in sustainable waste management, and we are receiving state-wide attention for our efforts,” she said. “This is just another way that Wells ‘walks the talk’ of sustainability thinking and practice.”

The Center will assist with integration of this program on campus and track its success to determine the ease of transferability to other institutions and financial benefits.

NYSAR3 provides statewide leadership on waste reduction, reuse and recycling issues and practices to improve the environment.

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