CSI Teaches Students the ABCs of Compost

Throw It Away…The Right Way

By: Mark Deutsch

Carol Hooper and Danny the Dolphin presenting at the compost event.

The compost event on Oct. 24, had a very important mission: to inform students on green ideas for both the campus and their own lives.

Two people presided over the lecture, Nora Santiago, urban policy analyst at CSI, and Carol Hooper, head of the Snug Harbor Cultural and Botanical Garden.

This event was created to be a fun and engaging workshop about composting, and its benefits to the environment. Nora Santiago, an avid advocate for the campus to go greener, arranged the compost event.

When asked what Nora Santiago hoped to accomplish with the event, she answered, “To raise awareness of the importance of composting and to show faculty staff and students to set their own sustainability goals.”

According to her, there is no club focused on making the campus more green and energy friendly. She hopes to garner enough interest, starting with the compost event to attract people, in hopes of seeding a club.

The president of the Gardening Club attended, saying she was interested in learning how to compost.

One idea for composting, was the “bring your own mug” program for the cafeteria, among other establishments that serve drinks. This would cut down on the sheer volume of litter lying around campus, and it would look more picturesque to students and newcomers alike.

This seemed to be a very doable idea, since mugs could either be bought at the CSI bookstore, or brought from home.

Another idea was to replace plastic utensils with biodegradable ones instead, for composting or recycling for later use. This idea can be implemented easily and would cost the same as their plastic counterparts.

It was also suggested that we attain compressor trash cans or as some people call them “smart trash cans”. These trash cans will let sanitation know when they are full, cutting down on time spent doing routine garbage pick up.

After all of these great ideas were introduced, Carol Hooper began her part of the presentation about the science of composting.

“I’m the project manager and I help teach people how to make and use compost. We help rebuild New York soils by giving New Yorkers the knowledge, skills and opportunities to learn how to make and use compost,” said Hooper in her introduction.

Apparently, decomposition will happen without humans; compost is when humans lend a hand to speed up the process. However, this doesn’t mean you should just throw your garbage on the ground.

Hooper explained how compost is made, by way of building compost containers, among other facts. Another reason why people should use compost containers is because it helps keep away pests, such as rodents and bugs.

Containers for compost aren’t always necessary; there are multiple compost methods. One is called an aeration pile, which lets all sorts of pests infest it purpose. So, if you don’t enjoy rats and flies, don’t do this.

Tumblers, not the drinking cups, are another good idea for composting, given how easily they can be turned and create compost within a few weeks outside.

In order to prevent bad smells and pests, turn over your compost a couple of times every few days to let the bottom breathe and add oxygen to the compost.

Overall, composting is an effective and energy-friendly way to get rid of those unwanted banana peels and vegetable scraps leftover from cooking.

With these helpful suggestions, composting will prove to be easy on the wallet, as well as the environment.

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