PUHI — After more than a decade of dreaming, Kauai Community College is composting.
It’s a grassroots effort started by a few professors and Emily Broderick’s biology class, combining movement toward a more sustainable campus with lessons on the scientific method.
Students on Monday placed two compost-catching buckets next to the recycling and trash by the cafeteria. Throughout the day, anyone who walked by with compostable like fruit peels or paper plates could drop them into the receptacles.
A handful of biology students emptied the receptacles in the afternoon, replacing the bright orange buckets with fresh ones and taking the compost a few feet around the building to a tumbler provided by Zero Waste Kauai.
As that tumbler fills up, the class will be monitoring it and documenting the results as part of their studies. Students are just as stoked about the science as they are about the sustainability.
“I’ve been around composting,” said student Anna Poole. “I’ve always been into helping the Earth and healthy lifestyle.”
Poole’s classmate Brendan Stogner said he’s excited about the project.
“It’s hard to believe it took 10 years, we’re glad to be a part (of it),” Stogner said. “Sustainability should be an important and valued part (of KCC), especially here on an island.”
Jimmy Trujillo, professor and faculty sustainability coordinator, has been one of those dreaming of a way to recycle and recapture some of KCC’s waste for years.
“For over a decade, we have been working to see this happen on a consistent basis,” he said to the students, “Thank you for being part of this.”
And while the biology students only collected about half of a five-gallon bucket full of compostable on Monday, organizers say they’re sure the amount will pick up as people get accustomed to the new receptacles.
“It’s all experimental. What will actually degrade and turn into fertilizer?” Broderick said. “I’ve been telling you about this for the whole semester. It’s been a long dream to make composting happen.”
Compost collection kicks of KCC’s celebration of Earth Month.
Throughout the month, there will be different activities and talks centered around the environment and sustainability.
Every Thursday, from 4 to 6 p.m., KCC will be hosting talk story sessions on things like fresh water, marine life, and agriculture. The campus is hosting Earth Week 2019 the week of April 22 to April 27, starting with an Earth Day celebration on April 22.