More orange and blue organizations are going green.
This semester Krishna Lunch and some sorority and fraternity houses will begin composting. Composting, in which biodegradable trash is turned into fertilizer, is increasing at UF, said Marie Peralta, the former director of the Student Compost Cooperative.
“I think composting programs have grown tremendously,” the 21-year-old UF biology senior said. “My first year, I never saw anything about composting.”
Rachel Reiss, the Greeks Going Green president, said she is excited to see her sorority house, Alpha Epsilon Phi, composting food scraps.
Currently, they are composting uneaten food that hasn’t been served, the UF political science senior said. The kitchen prepares lunch and dinner for about 400 members every week, but only about 120 members attend meals.
“I think people are really going to realize the scope of this when they see the numbers,” Reiss said.
To collect the food, the sorority has bins in its kitchen, the 20-year-old said. The kitchen staff later empties them into larger bins in the backyard.
UF’s Physical Plant picks up the waste for composting when they collect the rest of the trash, where it is composted at the greenhouses on Radio Road.
Reiss said she thinks Chi Phi and Chi Omega are going to begin composting in their houses this semester.
She hopes to compost partially-eaten food in the future.
“One of the things I learned my first two years (as president) is you need to start small,” she said.
Hanan Shwefel, a Krishna member, shares Reiss’s enthusiasm for the new relationship with UF’s Physical Plant.
Shwefel said Krishna Lunch has composted in the past, but stopped when it was no longer profitable to the company that composted for them.
Despite this, Krishna Lunch has continued using compostable plates, napkins, cups and utensils.
But through UF’s Physical Plant, Krishna Lunch is again composting for the more than 1,000 people served daily.
The trash bags are compostable, too.
“I’m very happy,” Shwefel said. “For years, we tried to do things ourselves. You need cooperation if you want to be green.”
Peralta said she’s happy Krishna is becoming more sustainable.
“I eat Krishna Lunch all the time,” Peralta said. “I would see all the food waste get thrown out in the normal trash can, and it was frustrating.”