A lesson in composting

Cadence ParamoreAssistant Editor-in-Chief

All around campus there are numerous bins for Gusties to dispose of their waste. We have your typical garbage and recycling bins, though the disappointment of the recycling bins not adhering to your anticipated “blue” is unsatisfying. And finally our green compost bins which are the most misunderstood.
With Gusties being “undeniably” smart and, more-than-not, environmentally conscious– it’s baffling how these bins can confuse some of our peers more than biochemistry or where to find the clit (if you’re struggling with the latter, I highly recommend giving The Principles of Pleasure a watch on Netflix. With biochem, you’re on your own). So why is composting so difficult for some students?

Around elementary school, I remember learning how to sort my waste. And even if you were denied the pleasure of learning this (haha, get it)?, or just weren’t paying attention, there are signs near almost every set of bins to show you just what goes where. How handy!
Unfortunately, these signs aren’t enough for some of our peers– and I’m fully aware that the ones who struggle won’t even pick up a copy of the Weekly, let alone read this article. If you ask them about this, their response will probably even be, “We have a campus newspaper?” And although I won’t give them crap for not knowing about us, I will dedicate this article to the ones who don’t know how to sort their crap.
Lesson one, Waste. While this bin is pretty straight-forward, as trash cans are almost everywhere in the world, it’s apparently not user-friendly enough for some. “Waste” or “Garbage” bins are labeled as such all around campus, and this is where you dispose of your plastic packaging items such as, but not limited to: those pesky bags that come around nearly every item you’ll receive inside those highly anticipated packages you splurged on at 1 am while online shopping, plastic shopping bags, pizza boxes (yes, even pizza boxes), disposable masks, empty chip bags or juice boxes with the cute little straws that temporarily make you feel like you’re 6 again and not failing classes that you pay thousands of dollars for, and any plastic cup or container that you don’t feel like washing to place in the recycling.
This may seem obvious to some, but if you aren’t going to wash food or drink items out of something that’s recyclable, DON’T RECYCLE IT. This leads into our second lesson, Recycling. The recycling bins, labeled as such around campus (although still black in color) are where your cardboard and paper products go, as well as rinsed out plastic containers such as soda bottles. You can even recycle your rinsed out White Claw cans from your weekend shenanigans! However, DO NOT RECYCLE PIZZA BOXES! Why, you might ask? Because there are food particles in it, silly. But, don’t mistake that for something you can compost either!
Next lesson, composting. This might seem contradictory to some, but if you’re unsure what goes where– just throw it in the waste bin! It’s much better to throw something away that might have been recyclable or compostable than to contaminate an entire bin with something that should have just been thrown away. However, if you know that something is compostable (hint hint: every item of Gustavus’ to-go packaging is compostable), then compost it! These items include: straws, to-go cups, napkins/paper towels, to-go containers, and to-go utensils. Even if there are food or drink remainders on them, because, guess what, food is compostable! Nice, right? Those pastry wrappers from the STEAMery or Courtyard are, say it with me, compostable! And those banana peels are, you guessed it, compostable!

But what about those “Gustie ware” bins, you may be asking? Those are ONLY for plates/silverware/reusable containers from the caf THAT ARE CLEANED! Bonus lesson– when food sits, it starts to smell. The more you know! I cannot tell you how many times my nostrils have been assaulted by the smell of rotting food in our handy-dandy Gustie ware bins. No, they are not trash cans (it says so right on the side in BIG white letters, and if you’re in college then I can guarantee that you know how to read), and it’s not anyone else’s job to clean up after you (shocking to some, I know. It’s okay, you’ll get through this. Practice makes perfect).
Now, are you finishing this article even more confused about how to sort your waste than when you started? Or, more likely, do you think that sorting your waste is just a waste of your precious time (haha, get it)? Then maybe rethink if college is for you. It’s okay to drop out, I promise. No shame here. Your peers will completely understand, and our lovely custodial staff will appreciate your sacrifice. You’ll be remembered as brave. A hero, even.
So, to conclude our Lesson in Composting, I’m assigning you homework (hey, I saw that, don’t roll your eyes)– learn how to sort your waste, or rethink if college is the right path for you.