How and Where to Compost on Campus

Compost Cart Locations

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How Food Waste is Collected

In Dining Services Kitchens

In all University Dining Services locations, the kitchen staff are separating food scraps during preparation and cooking. This is known as prep waste or "pre-consumer" waste and it comprises the largest percentage, by weight, of all the material we send to Green Mountain Compost facility.

In "Resident" Dining Halls

In resident dining halls, students are asked to scrape their leftovers (known as "post-consumer" waste) into designated barrels. During a recent renovation of Cook Commons Dining Hall, a built in architect-designed collection area was added. Click Here to see it. In the new Redstone Dining (shown at left), students are asked to scrape off their plates in a similar setup. At the Harris-Millis Dining Hall, students put their plates on a conveyor belt which goes into the dishroom, and kitchen staff separate the leftovers for them.

In "Retail" Dining Areas

Collecting food waste in retail or "take out" style dining areas is a bit more challenging. Compostable packaging is used to make this collection task easier but not every type of packaging can be composted.  Packaging we DO compost includes: paper take-out boxes, paper coffee cups and drink cups, paper plates and napkins, and PLA-plastic cups.  However, items like condiment packets, candy wrappers, chip bags and plastic utensils are contaminants and cannot be composted.

In Residence Halls

Many students want an opportunity to compost the food waste from their rooms and student kitchens in residence halls. Students can use a small container (e.g. a 32-oz yogurt tub) or small pail for this purpose. Students must bring their own food waste to one of the existing  collection sites on campus at the dining halls; the Custodial Services staff do not pickup food waste for composting.

In most halls, the designated Eco-Rep will set up several pails in common areas and kitchens. Eco-Reps are responsible for emptying and cleaning these pails on a regular basis.  If you would like a small compost tub for your residence hall room contact your Eco-Rep.

In Offices

Some staff members have asked about composting in their workplace. UVM Departments can voluntarily set up a small pail or bucket in their workplace, and arrange for emptying and cleaning out their own bucket on a regular basis. (The Custodial Services staff do not pickup food waste for composting.) Some offices are participating in a new pilot program using bicycle collection service.


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.