Greenfire composts

Bonnie Alger

“Make the campus more green!” makes the perfect mantra for Lawrence University’s environmental group, Greenfire. Greenfire is comprised of students who are interested in environmental issues and generally improving the environment surrounding them, particularly the college campus and surrounding city. Twelve members currently reside in the formal group house, this year located at Sabin, but the size of the entire group is actually much larger. “We’re very interested in getting more freshmen and underclassmen involved in such an important area of campus and local life,” says sophomore Brianne Mueller.

Various projects are taken on by Greenfire each school year, and many are highly visible to the entire campus committee. The organization does everything from small-scale projects, such as literature drops and river clean-ups, to larger-scale projects, such as meetings with local government officials to discuss environmental policies in the state of Wisconsin.

Some of you may remember the large paper-recycling bins that Greenfire distributed around campus last year. The paper that was collected from the bins was cut and bound into eco-friendly notebooks, which were then sold on campus last spring.

Of special interest is Greenfire’s new compost conservation project. While it is being started this year, it may take a while for it to get totally underway and will most likely be a larger, long-term project.

In conjunction with the Co-op House, Greenfire is trying to place bins next to the garbage cans in Downer. After students are finished with their meals, they will be able to throw their leftover vegetables, fruits, and other food scraps (excluding meats) into the bins. The intent is that the contents of those bins will then be placed into a compost bin by the dumpsters behind Downer.

Mueller stressed that the proposed project is very costly to accomplish, and that acquiring a compost bin and/or the supplies to make a compost bin is not easy. “This will be benefiting Lawrence’s community because we will not be throwing away nearly as much waste as we do every year. Hopefully it will decrease as much as a third of waste.”

On a smaller, related scale, Greenfire is currently putting the food waste from their house into a cooking pot and in turn dumping that into the Co-op’s compost bin every few days or so.