Food/Organic Matter

compost bins
public compost bin


Compost is an environmentally-friendly and cost effective way to divert waste from the landfill. When composted, food and paper-products are converted to nutrient rich soil in three months or less rather than sitting in a landfill for hundreds or even thousands of years before breaking down. Composting costs our campus an average of $56/ton, while landfill waste costs us an average of $168/ton.

Residence Life

All residence halls have a compost bin located by their outside dumpsters (except for Rountree Commons). Learn more about composting in residence halls and rent 5-gallon compost buckets here.

Dining Services

Bridgway Commons, The Crossing, and Catering all compost food waste behind the scenes! Bridgeway has been composting since October 2013, the other areas joined in during the summer of 2016. Back in 2013, we began the project with an area farmer (who also happens to be a UW-Platteville student) picking up the waste daily in 5-gallon buckets (that is a lot of buckets!) and taking it to his farm. Bridgeway was a relatively easy place to start a compost program since there is minimal food packaging and all food waste is scraped off of plates by kitchen staff. In April 2015, we switched our compost provider to a company called Sanimax who picks up the compost using a dump truck and takes it to a digester in Dane County where it produces electricity and is converted into a dry soil-matter (which is then added to Purple Cow Compost). Switching our provider to Sanimax has allowed us to scale up the size of our compost program and increase the types of items accepted by our compost program. Because Sanimax has a very tightly controlled composting process, we are able to compost a very broad of items including dairy and meat as well as paper towels and the compostable utensils and to-go containers used in the MPSC.

Communal Compost Site

Everyone is invited to drop off their personal compost in the public compost bin located between McGregor and Royce Halls in the Edible Campus Garden (managed by Green Campus Project student organization). If you do use this compost bin, please place your compost in the right hand bin. As the compost ages, it will be transferred to the bin on the left. Because this bin is relatively small, it will not reach very high composting heat so we ask that you limit your compost to plant-based materials only (this will help reduce unwanted bacteria). For those that have your own backyard, setting up a compost system at home can be quite easy. Here is some information on how to do it.