At UVM we are loyal to soil! We believe in recycling our food scraps back into soil which creates compost. Composting is a process that takes residual organic materials-- e.g., food scraps, leftovers, yard waste and animal manure-- and turns them into a nutrient-rich product called "compost." Diverting food scraps and compostable material from the landfill supports the local economy, farmers and growers by composting our food waste instead of dumping it in a landfill or down the drain. It's better for the environment and it's the law! 

In an average week UVM diverts 15 tons of food scraps and compostable items ("organics") from the landfill and sends it to Green Mountain Compost.

Organics are collected in various ways around campus.

UVM Dining Kitchens

Kitchen worker dumping food scraps

Kitchen staff in all UVM Dining locations separate 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.

Resident Unlimited Dining Halls

Student scraping plate of food

Resident Unlimited dining areas use real dishes and silverware so there is no packaging waste. At the Central Campus Dining Hall and Redstone Dining Hall, and Northside Dining students scrape their food leftovers (known as "post-consumer" organics) into a designated barrel before putting their dirty dishes on a conveyor belt. At Harris-Millis Dining, students put their plates directly onto a conveyor belt which goes into the dishroom and then the kitchen staff separate the food scraps for composting.

Retail Dining Areas

Display examples of trash, recycling and compost

In retail or "take out" food areas, collecting organics is a bit more challenging because of the packaging. UVM Dining uses BPI-certified compostable packaging in most areas which makes the collection task easier. Colorful signage is used in retail areas to guide students and customers in sorting their waste.

Residence Halls

Students in all UVM residence halls have the opportunity to collect food scraps for composting using the "small food waste bags" provided by UVM Recycling & Zero Waste. These brown bags are available at the front desk of their specific res hall or the main desk of their associated complex (for example, residences of the Back Five can get bags at the McAuley front desk).

These bags have a cellulose lining which enable them to hold in odors and moisture for the amount of time needed to fill the bag. Once the bag is full the student can then deposit the bag at the provided 13 gallon, green compost container also located close to the front desk. These containers can be identified by the "compost" sticker on the front or top of the container. 

UVM Recycling & Zero Waste services these containers on a weekly basis and all the materials gets hauled to Green Mountain Compost. 

13 gallon compost bin


Office Areas

Small brown food waste bag

We are working to expand compost collection to all academic and administrative locatons campus-wide, however, this presents operational challenges. UVM Recycling & Zero Waste will provide collection bags and containers so if you are interested in composting in your office please get in touch and we can discuss options and how to get started. Thank you!

At Special Events

trash, compost, recycling at an outdoor event

Composting and recycling take place at high profile outdoor events on campus. This requires advance planning and typically the event organizer provides volunteers to staff each trash station to help attendees sort their items properly. Contact UVM Recycling for specific needs for your event. 

Live Off Campus? Learn More About Backyard Composting

There are variety of options on how to divert your food scraps and compostables from the landfill. One option is to haul the material to your local drop-off center. Visit for locations and times. You can also start your own backyard compost program. Check out "The Dirt On Compost" for all your backyard composting tips and how to get started.


Compost Pick-Up and Drop-Off Locations at UVM

Food scraps and compostable packaging are collected from a variety of campus locations each day by our contracted hauler. Using a specially designed hybrid-powered truck equipped with a hydraulic bucket that can lift the heavy carts, these carts are lined with a compostable bag liner which helps keep them clean. The material is then hauled to Green Mountain Compost (GMC) which accepts organics and compostable items from throughout Chittenden County and beyond. GMC produces high quality compost, soil amendments and topsoil mixes.