Discourse / Editorials / February 20, 2019

Thoughts from the Embers: Bioneers focuses on issues important to students

We applaud Debbie Steinberg, Dining Services and Doug Stenfeldt for finding a solution to Knox’s composting problem, an issue that has plagued the college for several years now.

The Somat machine that helps break down the compost ceased functioning altogether in 2017. For the last two years, there has been no effective composting on the Knox campus. So even though you were separating your composting and garbage in the Gizmo, it was all ending up in the same place. We wish that students were made more aware that their compost was not actually being composted, a topic we have written about extensively in recent years.

However, a new machine can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $150,000, which is a cost that Knox cannot possibly afford. Therefore, the solution that the college came to is definitely the best one, and will benefit Knox greatly in the long run.

Knox’s Somat machine, which was bought in 2011, ran into countless problems even before breaking down completely in 2017. In the first two years it was running, the worms needed for composting were killed due to overheating on two separate occasions. It ran into even more problems during the 2015 school year, when it had to cease functioning for a while.

With this history of composting at Knox, it is apparent that it has long been a troublesome, finicky project at the college. But it is clearly still a worthwhile one.

As we’ve reported in our news section, Knox is looking to make a deal with an outside composting service, Better Earth Logistics. This means that the composting will be picked up from Knox’s campus and taken to another site to be composted. The funding has already been approved from the sustainability fund, carrying a cost of $6,741.56, a large difference from $150,000.

For now, whatever compost Knox sends away with Better Earth Logistics will be used by that company and not returned to campus for use in the greenhouses, the Knox Farm or anyplace else at Knox. However, we are encouraged by Steinberg’s intentions to figure out a way for Knox to receive compost after it has gone through its breaking down process, as this would allow these special campus projects to resume their use of compost materials.

Not only will this ensure our compostable material is actually composted, it will also save Knox a lot of money in the long run, beyond saving money on the initial purchase of a new machine. Having composting again will hopefully decrease the number of times we will have to have our garbage picked up, since more of it can be used in an efficient manner by the Better Earth Logistics group.

We are glad to finally see a solution to this important issue and are thankful that Knox has continually looked into solutions, even though composting has been a difficult project in the past. It’s important to compost what we can to avoid more trash going into landfills, and it’s clear now that Knox also holds this in great importance.

We implore students to learn more about composting and ensure that they are composting what they can when the deal is up and running. We must appreciate the fact that we will soon be able to compost our waste again, and continue working with the college to encourage more progress on environmental issues that will continue to make our campus greener.


TKS Editorial Board

Tags:  Bioneers climate change environmental activism

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