It has been an unfortunate few days for me since the Lumberjack published a distorted article on the state of composting at HSU. Your article has effected more than our campus community – I have been contacted by people from other parts of the country, by HSU administrators and by students, and I have had only limited success in getting the author to correct the misinformation within this article. The article was printed above-the-fold on the front page, and there it is in big, bold print: “HSU compost goes to the landfill.” I can understand how readers see this and think, “Why bother putting my food waste in the compost bin?” Especially if the reader does not continue past the big bold title and the first paragraph, which states “there’s no alternative in sight.” The fact is, even as you read this, our next load of food waste is being prepared for composting at a worm farm. The author overlooked the significant successes in food waste reduction and food recovery. In the food recovery hierarchy, composting is really the last resort before landfilling. The focus is on reducing food prep and recovering leftover food for human consumption, and by working with HSU Dining and the OH SNAP food pantry great strides have been made in this area. Because of these efforts, HSU won a best practices award in Innovative Waste Reduction at the 2017 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference. Additionally, the author did not give any helpful tips or suggestions on what readers can do to reduce food waste and to compost or otherwise assist the campus and their communities in this effort. He mentions there is trash in our food-waste (which has always been far below the threshold acceptable to our worm farmer), so why not make the connection and suggest to readers that they NOT throw trash in the compost bins? This article has set us back, in our relationships with our campus and off-campus partners, and in our efforts to get people to reduce food waste generation and to help us effectively divert food waste to compost.
Climate Action Analyst
Humboldt State University