How and Where to Compost on Campus

Compost Cart Locator Map

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How Food Waste is Collected

UVM has been diverting food waste for composting for over twenty (20) years as part of our comprehensive waste management system. We are on the forefront of complying with Vermont's new state law which requires institutions to divert organics. Here's how we do it:

In Dining Services Kitchens

Kitchen and dining staff in all University Dining locations separte food scraps during preparation and cooking. This is known as prep waste or "pre-consumer" organics and it comprises the largest percentage, by weight, of all the organics we collect on campus.

In "Resident" Dining Halls

Resident dining areas use real dishes and silverware. There is no packaging waste. In these places, students are asked to scrape their leftovers (known as "post-consumer" organics) into designated barrels. In Redstone Dining (shown at left) and in Cook Commons students scrape their plates BEFORE putting dirty dishes on a conveyor belt. At Harris-Millis Dining, the students put their plates directly on a conveyor belt which goes into the dishroom, and then the kitchen staff separate the food waste before washing the plates.

In "Retail" Dining Areas

Collecting food waste in retail or "take out" style dining areas is a bit more challenging because of the packaging waste. We use BPI-certified compostable packaging in most areas to make the collection task easier, but not every piece of packaging can be composted (i.e., condiment packets, candy wrappers and chip bags are troublesome). Colorful signage is used in retail areas to guide students and customers in sorting their waste.

In Residence Halls

Students have an opportunity to compost the food waste from their dorm rooms using small compost bags which are handed out at each residence hall front desk. (They can use any small container such as a 32-oz yogurt tub to keep food waste separated.). The full bags can be brought to any of the existing collection carts at the loading dock or in most Res Hall main lobbies.

In Office Kitchenettes

Many staff members now have access to composting in their office kitchenettes, through our partnership with One Revolution Compost Learn more about the office composting program. Note: Custodial Services staff do not pickup food waste for composting.


At Special Events 

Compost and recycle collection also takes place at high profile outdoor events on campus. This requires advance planning and typically the event host or organizer provides volunteers to staff the trash stations to help attendees sort their items properly. 

At Loading Docks

Designated 2-wheel carts are located at the loading dock area of most dining halls.  These are the same carts used by Dining Services staff, so please be respectful and help keep areas clean. These carts are lined with a certified compostable bio-bag liner before any food waste can be dumped in. (Bags are supplied by UVM Recycling.)  These carts are emptied 5 days per week (Monday - Friday only) by a contracted vendor.