UNM students campaign to compost food and plant waste on campus

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Students at the University of New Mexico are campaigning to make the campus more green. The university already recycles, but students want to take it a step further.

An online petition has thousands of signatures, and they want the food and plant waste produced on campus to be re-purposed and used as fertilizer.

“I’m a believer in not wasting anything,” said Joseph Lopez, a UNM student.

Lopez is in good company. More than 7,000 people have signed a petition calling for composting bins and a composting facility on UNM’s campus.

“There’s a lot of other areas around here that are trying to go green so why not,” said Lauren Chiri, a UNM student.

Currently there are large blue recycling bins throughout UNM’s campus, they separate paper from bottles and cans and from regular trash, but don’t have a place for food waste. That’s what organizers are trying to push for, and some students think it’s a good idea.

“If we can do anything to separate even more and if it benefits then more power to it,” said Lopez.

The student behind the petition said her goal is to re-purpose the food and plant waste from campus as fertilizer. She said what is being sent to landfills currently could stay on campus and help plants thrive.

Students also think it will save the university money.

“There’s a lot of plants around here on campus,” said Ashlee Coakley, a UNM student.

Organizers have also taken it one step further; they started a GoFundMe page to buy a $7,000 industrial composting machine. Students said if there were composting bins on campus they would take the few extra seconds.

“I would, why not, it’s not that difficult,” said Lopez.

The petition also mentions UNM has seen a nearly ten percent increase in solid waste in the past three-year period.

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