Texas A&M will begin improving sustainability efforts on campus by labeling compostable containers in the MSC Food Court to raise awareness of on-campus composting initiatives.
Products sold in the MSC Food Court from the GrabNGo line are in compostable packaging made from cornstarch, and will now include labels that better inform students of the packages’ ability to be thrown in the compost bins in the MSC Food Court area instead of the trash.
The compost labels are being implemented as a result of an SGA bill. Jasmine Wang, chair of the Sustainability Subcommittee, introduced the bill after meeting with Chartwells, the company that sells GrabNGo products in the MSC.
“I met with Chartwells originally because I wanted to improve composting efforts specifically at the MSC,” Wang said. “I was told that the GrabNGo products were compostable, but you can’t tell because they look exactly like a regular item, so nobody would have ever known that they were compostable.”
Ben Kalscheur, assistant manager at the TAMU Office of Sustainability, said composting is important for environmental, economic and social components of sustainability.
“If you put your container in a compost bin at the MSC it’s not going into a landfill,” Kalscheur said. “It’s actually going to go into what’s called a compost pile, and that’s actually turned into a usable product that’s used to help grow things in the future. If you’re not composting things you are taking resources out of the loop.”
Landon Woods, the SGA executive vice president of student services, said SGA better informing consumers of a product’s compostability in the MSC Food Court would improve sustainability on campus. After meeting with the Chartwells director of operations on campus SGA was confident they would get the labels implemented.
“He told us adding something to the label would be relatively simple,” Woods said. “And that they were willing to add something that would show which products were compostable. We would like the stickers to say, ‘I’m compostable,’ or something along those lines to let students know what they’re throwing away and what they’re doing with their trash.”
Wang said the timing of this bill reflects the way society treats waste.
“We’re moving into a period of time where we are more wasteful than ever,” Wang said. “If the university is investing resources to create compostable items, then I think it is important that we as students take advantage of those resources and then return them back into compost so that we can continue the cycle.”
Kalscheur said composting and sustainability fits in with Texas A&M’s core values.
“If we embrace the Aggie core values — respect is one of our core values, loyalty is one of our core values. If those are things that we really care about and want to embrace then we have to have a sustainable lifestyle,” Kalscheur said. “We have to think about how are the decisions I’m making going to impact someone else because it could impact someone negatively or it could impact someone positively. We want to make decisions that are impacting people positively.”
Kalscheur said raising awareness of composting and other sustainability efforts on campus will eventually affect the sustainability efforts of the world.
“Future leaders are going to be coming from Texas A&M, so if we are able to embrace sustainability then we will be able to leave the world in a better place than when we found it,” Kalscheur said.