Students of Georgetown, Inc. is partnering with EnviRelation, Washington, D.C.’s first composting company, to resume its composting initiative at The Hilltoss this year.
Set to launch on Monday, the composting program continues from a trial version from last spring. According to Hilltoss Director John Dodderidge (COL ’17), the restaurant refined the initiative over the summer.
“[Hilltoss] took these past months to revise our composting operation so we could reintroduce it as seamlessly as possible,” Dodderidge said. “I will be thrilled to see it launch again.”
Founded in 2006, EnviRelation serves the District, in addition to four counties in Maryland and four in Virginia. The program aims to provide a low-cost, efficient organic composting service to businesses across the D.C. area, collecting decomposable materials such as vegetables, fruit and paper and hauling them in trucks to a central location where they are naturally converted into soil.
Dodderidge said the initiative was designed to keep with the restaurant’s original health-oriented goals.
“Since its conception, The Hilltoss has strived to serve as a center for healthy living on campus,” Dodderidge said. “This is our largest sustainability effort, and The Hilltoss continually looks for ways to become more environmentally friendly.”
Chief Operating Officer of The Corp, Alexandra Donovan (SFS ’17), noted that she saw no reason to dispose of large amounts of food waste when better options to benefit the environment were available.
“We hated to continue to just throw out tons of food when there was a better, more efficient way to dispose of that food waste, which is why we committed to introducing composting in our back kitchen as quickly as possible,” Donovan wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Micah Musser (COL ’19), vice president of the Georgetown Renewable Energy and Environmental Network, a student environmental advocacy group, said the composting initiative was a positive indication of progress.
“I am very happy to see that The Corp is improving its sustainability practices,” Musser said.
As The Hilltoss is currently the only Corp location that composts, Musser also suggested The Corp had room to improve and expand their composting efforts to other locations such as Uncommon Grounds.
“I know that coffee grounds are very easy to compost, so perhaps it would be great for The Corp to look into composting their coffee,” Musser said.
Donovan said that while The Corp decided against introducing composting programs at its coffee shop locations due to organizational difficulties, the student-run company is still trying to find a method to incorporate coffee grounds into the larger composting effort.
“Unfortunately, the logistics of collecting the coffee grounds from each service and hauling them across campus to a specific pick up location was too complicated to keep up with on a daily basis,” Donovan wrote. “We’re looking into coming up with an easier way to collect coffee composts and add them to our larger compost supply.”
The Hilltoss has also made other steps towards being more environmentally friendly, such as introducing compostable salad packaging and allowing its customers access to its composting collection bin.
According to Donovan, outside of its sustainability efforts at The Hilltoss, The Corp is exploring different eco-friendly options ranging from reusable cups to energy efficient appliances.
“We’re also looking into ways to introduce reusable cups in our coffee services, upgrade our refrigerators in order to be more energy efficient, and to monitor the levels of power we consume on a daily basis so that we can figure out ways to cut that number down,” Donovan wrote.
Musser said he appreciates the idea of reusable cups and that he hopes if the plan is implemented, students will be able to reduce the amount of cups thrown away.
“It would be great to see people perhaps save their coffee cups and return with them in future trips to avoid excess waste,” Musser said.
In addition, Dodderidge announced that The Hilltoss is attempting to help spread the message of healthy living by giving its yearly scholarship award money to an initiative that promotes a healthy lifestyle.
“In November, The Hilltoss’ annual scholarship will be released, which will provide the winner with funding to develop a project that aligns with Hilltoss’ mission of healthy living,” Dodderidge said.
Donovan expressed that there are also things Hilltoss customers can do to be more environmentally friendly, such as recycling and composting waste themselves.
“Make sure to compost or recycle whenever you can!” Donovan wrote. “We’re working on doing front-house composting and making sure all of our packaging is recyclable or compostable so that it is as easy as possible for customers to recycle and compost.”
Gina Kim (SFS ’18), a Hilltoss customer, said the composting initiative was a sound idea, and that she would use a composting bin if Hilltoss provided one.
“I think it’s a really good green initiative,” Kim said. “I think that all of their fresh fruit that they use and produce lends itself well to composting.”