By Elyse Boldizar
The Wilson College of Textiles’ Sustainability Committee recently announced plans to make composting bins available as an alternative waste management method throughout the college. The effort is part of a larger NC State initiative to establish the university as a Zero Waste Workplace.
Purpose of composting
The Wilson College of Textiles has always been committed to sustainability, and the composting initiative aims to further reduce the college’s environmental impact.
The Sustainability Committee received a grant from the NC State University Sustainability Fund for a compost dumpster and smaller bins to be placed in bathrooms, classrooms and other operational areas on campus. The plan also includes compostable bag liners for employee break rooms and compostable utensils for events.
Composting will begin with test trials to ensure housekeeping, students and staff understand what can and cannot be composted. Composting bins are now available in all bathrooms throughout the college for students and staff to use. Information on what is compostable is available on signs attached to the bins as well as on e-billboards on campus. Over time, composting will be made available in all campus spaces, including staff offices and event rooms.
A more sustainable future
Composting is an exciting opportunity for the college to divert their second largest form of waste, compostable waste, away from landfills.
Rosemary Edberg, a Wilson College graduate who earned her M.S. in textile engineering in 2021, applied for the grant with support from Professor Karen Lefonas in 2020. The program was delayed because of Covid-19 but is now being implemented this semester.
Composting will allow students, staff and visitors to confidently dispose of compostable waste — which currently makes up 16.8% of the Wilson College’s landfill waste, according to a 2015 waste audit.
“Because our students become leaders in this industry, it is important to instill a sustainability mindset not only through curriculum, but through promoting other sustainable behaviors on our campus,” Edberg wrote in her proposal for compost funding.
This post was originally published in Wilson College of Textiles News.