2015-05-04 09.32.41When MassArt initially set out to minimize negative environmental impact from the cafeteria in 2011, we knew it was not going to be an easy objective. It was only with the collaboration from the college’s food vendor, Chartwells, students, faculty, and staff that we would be able to set up and manage a successful waste diversion program for the cafeteria to include single stream recycling and compost.

The first step was to get Chartwells on board. With support from Kory Laznick, Resident District Manager for Chartwells food services, we established the first composting programs for the food preparation area in February 2012. MassArt hired a waste hauler to provide daily pickup services for the compost collection. Over the following two years, the program was wildly successful, diverting 72 tons of organic food waste scraps from the trash. To further our efforts, the decision was made to expand the program to include front of the house cafeteria waste.

To do this was not an easy feat, clear concise signage was needed to ensure all parties utilizing the cafeteria would clearly and easily be able to distinguish what container to use to properly dispose of their waste. Chartwells further supported the effort by changing their stock containers to be compostable. Jane Marsching, MassArt Professor of Studio Foundation, Graduate Studies, and Sustainability Fellow, collaborated with the sustainability office to bring her freshman class the objective of developing conceptual ideas for a signage system. With the assistance of Jane’s class, the sustainability office was able to develop the signage found currently in the cafeteria. The Facilities Office supported the effort by reorganizing the waste collection locations in the cafeteria to support ease-of-use, as well as providing a waste receptacle at every exit.  A new food waste service provider was needed to handle the increased volume as well as to provide a safe and economical method to properly dispose of the new waste streams. The Facilities Department was able to execute this with the assistance of the Purchasing Office.

The Sustainability Office launched the new program in October 2014. Since the launch date, the front of the house organics collection has shown an increase in overall compost diversion of 45% from the FY14 amounts, consequently diverting 73 tons of organic waste in the first year. It was only with the support of the college community that we were able to be so successful in this endeavor. MassArt looks forward to further collaboration to succeed in future sustainability projects.