Composting is easy, convenient and a really great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here are some tips for what and where to compost on campus.

What you can compost

A good rule to start with is if it was recently alive, it can probably be composted. Common items you can compost on campus include food waste, compostable plastics and paper, paper towels and napkins. 

Biodegradable Products Institute logoWhen composting, do your best to avoid contamination. Make sure the item is labeled compostable or has the correct symbol (such as the BPI Certified Compostable logo to the left). Plastic-lined coffee cups and to-go food containers are not compostable, unless they’re from the Starbucks in the UMC and HDS dining centers and cafes on campus. For symbols and other identifiers, review the guide on accepted compost materials.

Where you can compost

You can review the full list of buildings with compost on campus. Compost bins are mostly found in restrooms or next to recycling bins in buildings. Having compost in restrooms ensures that it gets emptied daily.

Composting guidelines on campus are the same as in the city and county of Boulder (it all goes to the same place!). If you live off campus in the City of Boulder, your landlord is required to provide you with composting services under the Universal Zero Waste Ordinance so ask if you don’t have it. 

Why it’s great to compost

Here are just a few reasons to get in the habit of composting:

  • Composting saves landfill space. Compostable items need oxygen, water, and mixing to biodegrade. When they’re covered in landfills, this process can’t happen and they still take up space, making new landfills necessary sooner.

  • Composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions. When compostable items are covered in landfills, they release methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere. Methane absorbs the sun’s heat, warming the atmosphere.

  • Help create nutrient-rich soil. Composting keeps nutrients in our soil, which can eventually get them back into what grows in that soil.


Looking for more ways to live sustainably?

Sustainable Buffs Guide