Published: Oct. 9, 2019
Small plants in pots

At CU Boulder, composting is easy, convenient and great for our environment. Here are some tips for what and where to compost on campus.

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. These items also take up space, making a need for new landfills more quickly.

Composting helps fight climate change. 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.

Composting helps create nutrient-rich soil. Soil created from composting can be very beneficial to local gardens and farms.

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. 

Earn PIPs

Did you know you could earn PIPs when you compost on campus? Look for the PIPs QR codes on compost and recycling bins throughout campus to collect PIPs and get rewarded!

Learn More

When composting, do your best to avoid contamination. Make sure the item is labeled compostable or has the right symbol or identifier. Plastic-lined coffee cups and to-go food containers are not compostable. However, many places on campus—including the UMC Starbucks, dining centers, Alferd Packer Grill and The Bakery—provide compostable to-go items.

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 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. 

    Learn more about composting.

    Sustainable Buffs is a series brought to you by the Environmental Center. Learn more sustainability tips and ways to get involved.