As they began exploring sustainable opportunities on campus, the interns realized the campus dining service operations were a perfect starting point. The first step was eliminating plastic trays in the dining halls. Reduction from decreased use of the commercial dish washing units saved 135,000 gallons of water along with time & energy.
|organics collection in action @
William & Mary
|Compost: the valuable end product
- Cost-savings - with approximately 40% of the campus dining service "waste" collected for compost or recycling, W&M realized a reduction in their waste hauling expenses.
- On-campus garden - the campus purchases compost made from their food residuals and compostable foodservice packaging for their student maintained garden. The campus has the ultimate in locally grown food with their garden right on campus.
W&M hit an amazing sustainable stride in their dining operations and increased their SEI grade to a B+ in three years. MeadWestvaco, a manufacturer of compostable and recyclable food service packaging, honored W&M's accomplishments with an excellent video, College Aces Composting 101, and an article, How the College of William & Mary made its Dining Services GreenToGo.
Industry suppliers like MWV are valuable partners for campuses, whether college or corporate, as they explore incorporating zero waste practices into their daily operations. Along with product expertise, MWV shares their broad range of experience working with operators on implementing organics collection programs. MWV's GreenToGo site content serves as a resource for WHY sending organics to composting operations is important along with examples of successful programs.
With strong educational tools and industry support, zero waste practices are easy and many times result in cost-savings. See the ZWZ Blog post, A Common ZWZ Refrain: It's Easy, for Zero Waste Zones Participant testimonials on the ease of including organics collection in their operations.
It is inspiring to learn of tales from the zero waste journey - the College of William & Mary is a prominent example of how sustainable practices benefit the environment and the college's profit|loss statement bottom line.