2022 Compost Changes

As of January 2022, only food scraps and a few select items* are accepted in compost bins around campus and the community. Due to high rates of contamination, the Chittenden Solid Waste District and other waste haulers are no longer accepting formerly ‘compostable’ cups and containers. 

As CSWD notes, “These products pose many problems for our operations: 

  • They invite “look-alike” cups, utensils, plates and other foodware that is made from plastic and other non-compostable materials that contaminate our products. We can’t tell the difference when they all come in together.
  • Even certified, legitimately “compostable” products do not always break down adequately in our operation.
  • Some paper and fiber foodware contains PFAS, a class of chemicals used for moisture and grease resistance. PFAS has been linked to numerous negative health risks and does not “disappear” from the environment.”

CSWD’s Michele Morris wrote a detailed opinion piece in VT Digger that dives deeper into the why of this decision. 

What are we doing at Champlain on this topic? You’ll see updated posters at all waste stations, and the phased in use of more reusable/refillable items. Dining Service/Sodexo will be using up past inventory of cups and containers and we will develop a hierarchy of preferred materials used for retail dining and catered events that minimize waste (especially in accordance with Vermont law related to single use items), include post-consumer recycled content, and aim for a lower overall carbon footprint. It is important to note that due to the COVID pandemic, many of the supply chains of products are disrupted and preferred products are not always available. Our team is striving to do the very best with the conditions at hand. Our focus this semester will be on “zero contamination” of our compost and recycling systems as we continue to aspire toward “zero waste”. 

What can you do? We strongly encourage, when dining at EATS in CCM to utilize the OZZI take out box program and Cru5H cups. Getting coffee at the Campus Store? Bring a refillable mug and get a $.50 discount, or a $1 with a Champlain branded mug.  All around campus, do your best to avoid disposable items and reduce waste at the source.  

Know before you throw, and keep up with Sort it Out.   #SustainChamplain  

* Accepted Items:

  • All food scraps of any kind   
  • Certified, clearly labeled compostable bags used for lining food scrap containers   
  • Coffee filters & tea bags (paper only–no plastic tea bags)   
  • Newspaper and untreated paper bags used to line food scrap containers   
  • Paper towels and napkins – only if they DO NOT contain body fluids or chemicals of any kind   
  • Wooden or bamboo stirrers, toothpicks (no plastic frills), chopsticks    
  • Uncoated paper leaf bags