Saint Martin’s takes big step for smaller carbon footprint

New organics recycling program will turn waste to compost

March 10, 2008

Lacey, Washington — Saint Martin’s University will introduce a new organics recycling program on its main campus this week, moving the institution forward in its commitment to environmental sustainability. Working in collaboration with Sodexho Food Services, the University will launch the FoodPlus recycling-for-compost program in its on-campus dining hall tomorrow, March 11, 2008.

Thurston County Solid Waste, which has been working with Sodexho to help implement the program, will place specially marked FoodPlus containers next to the regular trash receptacles in SMU’s St. Gertrude Dining Hall. Diners will be able to separate their compostable trash, including paper, paper cups, napkins and all food scraps — even bones — into the FoodPlus containers. Staff from Thurston County Solid Waste will be available in the dining hall this week to answer any questions about the new program.

“The University has been using biodegradable food service items for quite some time,” commented Dale Askew, general manager of Sodexho Food Services at Saint Martin’s. “We are actually ahead of many other institutions in our use of potato-based utensils known as ‘spudware’ and corn-based cups, lids and straws. Participation in this program represents a great stride in our sustainability efforts.”

LeMay Enterprises will collect the compostable materials and transport them to Silver Springs Organics, a state-of-the art commercial composting facility near Rainier where the food and paper will be mixed with yard and wood waste and turned into compost.

“Being able to turn these materials into a usable product instead of sending them to the landfill is very exciting,” said Susan Leyster, director of campus ministry. “The objectives of this recycling program — being responsible with our resources and taking care of the earth — align with many of the Benedictine values we embrace at Saint Martin’s.”

Terri Thomas, education and outreach specialist for Thurston County Solid Waste, assisted the University in organizing the new recycling campaign. “Trash service is more expensive than collecting recyclables and organics, so the program allows schools and businesses to save a significant amount of money while doing their part to protect the environment,” remarked Thomas. “In the local elementary schools participating in the FoodPlus program, we have been able to divert 75 percent of the cafeteria waste stream.”

For more information on organics recycling, contact Terri Thomas of Thurston County Solid Waste at 360-754-2896 or Julie Myers of LeMay Enterprises at 360-486-8608.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 320-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its five extension campuses located at Fort Lewis Army Post, McChord Air Force Base, Olympic College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Dale Askew
General manager, Sodexho Food Services
Saint Martin’s University

Jennifer G. Fellinger
Director of Communications
Saint Martin’s University