Composting at SPH

Composting at SPH

Question: If the school’s Glass House Café offers compostable utensils, cups, and containers, why is waste from the café going into a landfill and not to a composting facility?

Answer: Composting is expensive—but not unthinkable. During a four-week trial period this spring, students in the SPH Public Health Sustainability Initiative (PHSI) piloted a compost program in the Glass House to collect both pre- and post-consumer waste—including raw fruits and vegetables, sandwiches, meat, and containers—and haul it to a local composting facility. The program generated "some great feedback from students, staff, and faculty who want to see a long- term compost program at SPH," says Julia Winfield, a second-year dual-degree student in public health and public policy who spearheaded the project. She and her PHSI colleagues are also collecting feedback through formal surveys. They hope to implement a permanent SPH composting program next year.

Waste reduction, energy conservation, and alternative transportation are PHSI's top three priorities, Winfield says. In late April, the group hosted the first-ever end-of-year SPH "Stuff Swap." Next year, in addition to reviving the composting program, they hope to make the school's Admitted Students Day a zero-waste event.

SPH in the Media

"As researchers, it's the million-dollar question. We really want to know."

Allison Aiello, associate professor of epidemiology, speaking to the Boston Globe about the risk of hand-to-hand flu transmission, in a February 17, 2013, article entitled "Do handshakes make you sick?"

"It's going to be a much longer journey."

Julia Adler-Milstein, assistant professor of health management and policy and assistant professor, U-M School of Information, in a Bloomberg Business Week article (March 4, 2013) about her study showing that most doctors who install electronic medical records systems will lose money in the first five years.

"When the train comes in Manhattan, the noise is 80 to 85 decibels on average and goes upwards of 95 to 100 decibels for brief periods."

Richard Neitzel, assistant professor of environmental health sciences, speaking to The Washington Post (April 8, 2013) about his study showing that noise exposure in urban settings can damage hearing.

"Stakeholders may not like the numbers, but most will acknowledge that Census Bureau data are objective and valid."

From a Huffington Post blog post (April 9, 2013) on the role of the U.S. Census Bureau, by Roderick Little, the Richard D. Remington Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics, and Tom Louis, professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.