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  • Writer's pictureMarket Team

Waste Sch-maste

Meet Lauren, our Assistant Market Manager. We gave her the toughest market job on her first day, and she still stuck around! If you see her, give her a high-five.

This summer, I began training with the behind-the-scenes crew as the newly hired Assistant Market Manager. Night Market co-founders Danielle and Andie had me help with one of the less glamorous duties of the Market: sorting compost. I have seen and done dirtier jobs, so I wasn’t worried about the “gross” factor. But, as I sorted through thousands of people’s garbage, I realized just how little I (and obviously most other market shoppers) knew about composting and recycling.

I’m sure many people like me, many of you have tried coming to terms with the terrifying reality of the earth’s current health, and our individual carbon footprints. My first real moment of realization followed by a need to change my habits happened during my sophomore year of college. I tried to buy less plastic, I made my own toothpaste, and even tried my hand at composting. However, these “permanent” changes became difficult to keep up with, and I let my laziness win. Now, about two years later, the urge to “be green” is back, and I realize just how little I remember, so I decided to do some of my own research about composting.

When I searched for a definition of composting, I the first thing I ended up reading were paragraphs and lists about what can and cannot be composted. I found answers such as coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, etc. One source said any organic matter could be composted. Okay, so what’s organic matter? Webster’s dictionary told me that “organic matter” literally meant matter pertaining to organs. Ugh.

After I interrogated Google for awhile, I came up with my own definition: composting is like natural recycling. To simplify and make it relevant to our market, one example would be organically made paper plates and napkins can be composted. Paper plates and napkins filled with inorganic grease cannot. Basically, if it comes from a plant and won’t harm the growth of a plant, compost it! After some time, composted old foods and organic materials breakdown into really rich nutrients -- great for mixing with soil, which will become more fertile and yield better fruits and vegetables. Then, the produce that has been successfully grown with the help of the compost becomes the compost itself, creating a beautiful cycle of goodness.

You can help the Millwork Night Market be part of this beautiful cycle of goodness by composting ALL of your leftover food scraps, paper napkins, and cardboard food boats from all our delicious food vendors, and recycling your plastic cups! We hope to have nearly zero non-compostable or recyclable trash by the end of the season.

Look, we’ve even made it super easy for you - look for our new ClearStream labeled sorting bins!

Look for our color-coded bins and separate your waste!

See you at the compost bin!


Lauren Bollweg is Millwork Night Market’s Assistant Market Manager. She’s a senior at Loras College and has a good head on her shoulders.

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