Composting and Sustainability

NEW – November 10, 2014 12-1:00 PM – SOS will host a sustainability focussed luncheon at Phi Sig House, 1018 Campus Drive featuring a variety of professors, admins, chefs, and industry leaders doing a meet an dgreet and starting to outline how we might start finding synergies. If you wish to join please email SOS.

Simply defining what actually is a “sustainable” practice is part of a debate that student management and SOS have been actively engaged in for years.  Like any complicated issue there is no easy solution, but like all of our services, our response is nuanced, customized, and leans heavily on student staff and resident preferences.

Some practices have clearly defined benefits and SOS has taken an active role with promoting them:

Composting of organics (Target Zero Waste) SOS has been taking active lead since 2006 when SOS management volunteered to help study and bring post consumer compost to the Row in conjunction with Housing and Res Ed. We contributed $6000 on handmade keychains/keys, 13 gallon Slim Jim bins, custum Target Zero Waste Posters and volunteer training at dinner times for houses.

Recycling (Target Zero Waste) – SOS helped to develop the Reserve Fund system precisely to help houses afford things that fell outside of the normal range of kitchen food budgets – biodegradable bags, kitchen recycling bins, bioware, etc.

For other practices such as use of seasonal/local/organic foods some chefs and houses are able to be more committed than others for several reasons:

  1. Size of house/resulting budget (especially as regard organic foods which tend to be more expensive)
  2. Preferences of the house
  3. Time/ability of the chef to make items from scratch (ostensibly to save on packaging, cost, and create fewer deliveries)

In these areas SOS has been encouraging chefs and KMs to develop organic salad bars and open kitchen fruit selections for years, to use Monterey Bay Aquarium’s published list of best fish choices, to develop vegetarian days on menus (using raw grains, not processed), to promote (for instance) local/grass fed meat nights through communicating with residents about what it means, etc.


Another Boost for the Greening of Stanford – Compost Pilot Program on the Row

Update:10-7-07 – we’re now beyond the 2006 pilot…

Compost facilities are now available at 100% of the student managed kitchens across the Stanford campus. If your house is not actively participating please email Nick Peters (see below) for help.

Additional information/factoids:

The 5 Rs of Zero Waste – Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Buy Recycled, Rot

The Row program alone has a projected ability to help divert an additional 2000-3000 cubic yards/year of landfill.

Red Cups – red plastics cups are made of #6 Plastic, also known as PS or Polystyrene and are not recyclable.

Pizza Boxes and food soiled paper are accepted in Food Waste bins.

Mixed paper recycling bins accept any paper that can be torn as well as plastic grocery bags, bubble wrap, and even the plastic packaging material used by

The dumpsters are locked to prevent contamination.

The program targeted a break even cost analysis whereby savings in normal garbage landfill capacity utilization was offset by the additional service.

Stanford Composting Specs

Food Waste Training Docs

Organics at Stanford

Smithsonian Article

Woods Institute for the Environment (Stanford University)

Critical Thought and Biofuel – the need to conserve – David Pimental is a big critic of biofuel and claims ethanol is not net positive energy in and out

A very thoughtful rebuke to Pimentel by David Blume about ethanol (alcohol) based fuels from local Santa Cruz PBS Radio.

Harpers article “The Oil We Eat”