Community / Opinion

Boarders, let’s work on sustainability in the dorms

With the dorms fully open after over a year and all boarders back on campus, the dorms have begun producing more unnecessary waste. This includes food waste in the communal kitchens and water waste in the bathrooms. 

Food waste takes place in the communal kitchens, personal rooms, and shared trash cans. It’s common to see perfectly edible food being tossed away for simple reasons such as “I don’t really want it anymore” or “I was full and didn’t know what else to do with the leftovers.” 

In 2010 the U.S Environmental Protection Agency estimated that around 218.9 pounds of food waste per person was sent for disposal in the US alone. It is also estimated that 30-40% of the food supply is ultimately wasted. 

As a community we need to limit our over-consumption habits by offering food to others, reusing the leftovers, and even sharing with a dormmate (Covid permitting). 

I’d also like to see the administration consider shared dorm compost bins. The boarding community should have a compost container outside each dorm where boarders can put their organic food waste (fruit and vegetable scraps, eggs shells, used tea bags, etc.) to help create compost. The school could use the compost created to fertilize the plants around school grounds and even throughout Wellesley. 

Water waste in the dorms is caused by lengthy showers and forgetful use when using water for brushing your teeth and washing your face. 

While most people recognize much of the waste they produce, water waste always seems to be under-recognized because people do not realise the repercussions. Many assume that as soon as it goes down the drain, it’s no longer their issue. In fact, the average American uses 82 gallons of water a day.

Solutions include shorter showers, turning off water while washing your body and hair, and more mindful water use.

Having posters in the bathrooms regarding water waste and posters in the kitchen regarding food waste would serve as helpful reminders. Also, holding discussions with boarders about waste and how to effectively reduce it would lessen our ecological footprint. 

Waste is inevitable, but we can control it. 

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