Exciting New Compost Initiative

Elizabeth Buttita ’20

Student organization lunch events at UVa Law are a well-known staple of life at the Law School. Each semester, organizations of various kinds put on events, such as hosting speakers and panels, which often include food. Yum! Despite the free-food table, these events can generate a significant amount of waste in the form of plates, cups, utensils, food scraps, and the like. Unfortunately, most of the waste ends up in the landfill. Until now! 

Introducing zero-waste events! Thanks to the Recycling and Waste Diversion Program here at UVa, we now have the ability to create "green" events by providing recycling and compost bins at events. Additionally, the program offers compostable wares, such as plates and utensils. The process is very simple and completely FREE. Event organizers simply contact UVa’s recycling supervisor, Victor Martin (vem8n@virginia.edu), to request bins (and compostable wares, if desired) for the event. Once event organizers let him know the date and location of the event, approximately how many people are expected, which bins are being requested (compost, recycling, and/or landfill), which compostable wares are wanted, and desired drop-off and pick-up time, Victor and his team will be on the case! They will drop off the bins and wares and come back to pick it up at the end of the event. It’s that easy!  

It is important to note that event organizers must be willing to help attendees discard items into the appropriate bin. This is essential to successfully making the event zero-waste. For instance, if a compost bin gets contaminated with non-compostable items, it unfortunately must go to the landfill. Additionally, if non-recyclables are placed in the recycling bin, the result will be a lot of unnecessary work for Victor and his team.  

For this reason, SBA's Building and Environmental Services Committee will be hosting an information session about what is compostable and recyclable. The session will also demonstrate what a zero-waste event looks like by serving food and having compost and recycling bins. Be on the lookout for more details! 

In the meantime, feel free to contact me (mkb4ja@virginia.edu) with any questions, comments, or comments.