Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Islander Green Team has teamed up with Chartwells and Starbucks to provide a more environmentally friendly way to dispose of trash.
The Islander Green Team began a composting program for the on-campus Starbucks in order for the Island campus to become more “green” by setting aside their used coffee grounds and filters so they can be naturally reused by the earth. Composting is the breaking down of organic matter to create soil-like material that can be used to grow plants and food and help decrease waste amounts.
“We are reusing our waste to create something that we can use to revitalize the soil in our gardens and on campus as a whole,” said Melissa Zamora, junior environmental science major and Islander Green Team student president.
Eventually, the Islander Green Team’s ultimate goal is for the entire campus to have zero waste. By composting the waste produced on campus, the university would be able to use the compost to grow gardens on campus so the school would not have to spend money on produce.
“When food waste in particular goes to the landfill, it doesn’t break down like it naturally does in a compost bin, so it creates this sludge that produces methane which is a compacted greenhouse gas,” Zamora said. “So this would be a means to divert as much waste as we can from the landfill and reducing our carbon footprint in a sense.”
In order to get this project up and running, the Islander Green Team contacted Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s catering company, Chartwells, to see if a partnership could begin.
“At Chartwells, we have a really strong local initiative,” said Amanda Hall, marketing director for dining services with Chartwells on campus. “We try to order local produce as much as possible and I’m working on getting a board up in The Cove and Dining Hall showing like ‘This is where your food comes from’ and I think it would be so cool to have a spot showing food grown on the Island.”
Hall said Chartwells would love to potentially have a garden in the Islander Dining Hall, where they would use the compost soil from the Green Team and eventually expand into a way for them to reutilize the waste on campus.
Starbucks provided the Islander Green Team with 55 gallons of coffee grounds and filters (produced roughly every 10 minutes) during the week of Sept. 22, which is now being naturally composted at their compost station, located near the Physical Plant on campus by the Islander Garden.
Students, group organizations, staff and faculty are able to reserve a garden plot to grow their own items within the Islander Garden. The Green Team hopes to expand the garden into more populated areas on campus so more people can get involved.
For more information on the Islander Green Team and how to get involved with the composting project, visit islandergreen.tamucc.edu or join the organization on orgsync.com. Their next meeting will be at 3 p.m. on Oct. 7 in the NRC in room 1101.