Thanks to a progressive green spirit, Campus Dining adopted composting into its operations in 2011 when our waste hauler first made it possible. The Marketplace composts the peelings and trimmings from food prep. The food waste and compostable items placed on the food tray collector are also sorted by staff behind-the-scenes into compost bins. These impactful actions divert up to 10,000 pounds of organics every 10 days during the school year. In the nationwide RecycleMania 2017 competition, Oxy’s organics diversion ranked 12th among 134 colleges.
Oxy practices industrial composting, meaning a wide range of organics and plant items can be composted on campus. Campus Dining has transitioned to exclusively offering disposable utensils, straws and cups. The following is a mini-compost guide:
Food: veggies, fruits, meat, dairy, bread, baked goods
Soiled paper: napkins, pizza boxes, paper plates
Cups: Green Bean, Marketplace and the Cooler cups are all compostable
Plantware/#7 PLA: Oxy’s disposable utensils are compostable. Any items with “7 PLA” displayed in a recycling symbol are made of plant material and can be composted (for example, the Cooler’s salad containers).
This poster summarizes these composting basics:
Composting began to expand beyond the Marketplace in 2016 through the efforts of the Green Bean, the Public Health club and the Office of Sustainability. As green bins (the color code for compost) started appearing in other campus locales, students became inspired and energized to bring composting to more areas.
Liz Richman ‘19 headed up the Cooler Compost project, and Stella Ramos ‘21 began BraunPost and empowered other students to replicate her success in other halls through a ResEd Compost Working Group. FEAST is ramping up its closed-loop composting efforts by collecting the Marketplace’s food waste, the Green Bean’s coffee grounds and backyard compost bins adjacent to two residence halls [find out specific halls].
Compost champions are making the practice available across campus. Even the Financial Aid Office has a compost bin initiated and maintained by its assistant director, Emily Valk.
Check out this map to see where you can compost at Oxy:
For ease of reference, here is the current list of locations:
- Braun Post (1 bin per hall)
- Marketplace @ the conveyor belt
- The Cooler near east entrance
- The Green Bean
- Johnson Student Center 1st floor
- Johnson Hall 1st floor
- Academic Commons
- 2nd floor near printer
- 2nd floor near reading room
- 3 floor near restrooms
- FEAST (ONLY backyard composting)
Large compost bins are available for big events hosted on lower campus. Currently, composting happens at OxyEngage Welcome and Closing Dinners, Harvest Fair, Explore Oxy Breakfast and Lunch, Staff Appreciation Luncheon, Spring Fest and Earth Day Quad Fair.
Smaller events hosted by clubs can also set up composting. RESF helps to finance the higher price of compostable serviceware. Smaller event composting is not limited to lower campus. For more information, reach out to Sustainability Coordinator Jenny Low.