Monday, January 7, 2019

Orbis Grille, located in PORTAL, is helping the University reduce its landfill waste by offering a compost option for dine-in customers. It is the first dining facility on campus to offer a customer-facing compost option.

With the start of the new calendar year, dine-in customers now have two, clearly labeled disposal options for their waste—compost and landfill. Compostable items will include any leftover food scraps, Orbis to-go containers, Orbis silverware, napkins and coffee cups (without the lids). Landfill items will include chip bags, condiment containers, coffee cup lids and other non-compostable items.

Prior to this program’s implementation, an average of 50 to 60 percent of Orbis Grille’s landfill waste could have been composted. This program will now capture that material and turn it into something environmentally beneficial.  

“It is our hope that with this program’s success we can start implementing compost bins at other dining locations across campus,” said Darcy Everett, recycling project manager.

Though Orbis Grille has the first customer-facing bins, the concept of composting isn’t new to the University. Composting began in 2014 when Crown Commons adopted the initiative. Today, compostable waste is collected from the kitchens of 13 dining locations, including SoVi, Einstein Brothers Bagels and Main Street Market. In 2018, more than 143 tons of compost was collected from the kitchen areas of campus dining locations.

Earth Farms, a contracted company from Gaston County that produces more than 40,000 tons of compost every year, collects the campus’ compostable waste and turns it into a high-quality soil amendment called compost. That compost is used to create healthy soil for use on athletic fields, personal homes and gardens and other projects across the Carolinas.

This project was funded by the Charlotte Green Initiative and supported by PORTAL, Dining Services and the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling. Orbis Grille is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Note: Individuals are discouraged from placing items in the compost bin that weren’t purchased at Orbis Grille. Such items could contaminate the compostable materials already in the bin and hinder that waste’s ability to become compost. More information about University recycling is on the web.