The Composting Club has requested funding from Student Senate to place more composting bins on campus in an effort to get the University of Rhode Island students to dispose of food in a more sustainable way.

Currently, the club has one bin at URI, which is located at the Watson House, the white building between the chemistry building and the library.

“We want to place another bin closer to the center of campus, probably near the Memorial Union,” said Mark Silvestri, a senior geology major and co-founder of the Composting Club. “Hopefully, that would get more people to compost their food.”

The Composting Club believes that URI’s Kingston campus could be doing more. “They’re working towards it, but I kinda wish they were going faster,” said Silvestri.

Sustainable agriculture and food systems student, Jamie Mernick, also claims that the University currently sends their compost to Massachusetts instead of a nearby, in-state facility because it is less expensive.

The club hopes they can eventually place compost bins all across campus so that as many students can get involved as possible.

“The current bin is used mostly only by people in the club,” said senior pharmacy student and the co-founder of the club, Justin Gold. “We plan on putting more signs up so people know it’s there.”

Mernick says that composting is one of the best things people can do to help their environment. According to the University of California, Davis, composting adds nutrients and beneficial microbes to soil, holds water and improves plant growth. It also reduces water runoff, erosion and need for heavy-chemical fertilizers.

“When you farm a place too much it takes nutrients from the ground,” said Silvestri. “Composting keeps the nutrients stable.”

Gold adds that throwing out items such as banana peels, apple cores, lettuce, and salads ends up going to landfills where they are incinerated. “This process is expensive and contributes to ozone depletion,” said Gold.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency also points out that 24 percent of our trash is comprised of food waste and other materials that could be composted. In addition, 13 percent of the nation’s municipal solid waste stream is food scraps.

The Composting Club was founded in the spring of 2018. Already, the organization has a partnership with URI’s Mainfare Dining Hall and has presented at the URI sustainability summit.

“We started the club to reduce the amount of waste on campus,” said Gold. “We collect biodegradable material, put it in a turntable bucket, mix it with leaves and develop fertile compost. Last year we were able to use the compost to plant pink corydalis flowers on campus which are indigenous to Rhode Island.”