Composting

Wesleyan composts food scraps from Usdan Dining Hall, Summerfields Dining Hall, Pi Cafe, several campus buildings, many campus residences, and several offices.  Click the expandable links below to learn more about composting or download printable handouts for dorms/residences and offices.  

Betterbin App

New in Fall 2020, Wesleyan is piloting the Betterbin app, which will make it easier for you to see at a glance what is recyclable or compostable.  More info coming soon!

At Home Composting Guide

Are you studying remotely this semester?  We've compiled a list of composting options (backyard and professional services) for several metro areas in the US.  Please take a look and let us know what you think!

  • Where do I compost?

    Public Locations

    There are several compost bins in public locations that are open for public use.  They accept ALL food waste and ALL containers/napkins provided by Bon Appetit (except for sushi containers, which are trash).

    Outdoors

    • Between Allbritton Center and PAC
    • Outside Usdan main entrance
    • Outside Pi Cafe on Exley Church St. Patio

    Indoors

    • Exley
      • 1st floor lobby outside Pi Cafe
      • 1st floor lobby near Lawn Ave. entrance
    • Olin Library
      • 1st floor
      • 4th floor 
    • Science Library
      • 1st floor 
    • Usdan
      • 1st floor by printer
      • 1st floor by Usdan Cafe
      • Marketplace (dish return)
    • Beckham Hall 
    • Summerfields (dish return)
    • 291 Main St. (basement kitchen)

    For questions about composting, email the Composting Interns.

    Residential and Office Locations

    These stations accept only food waste (NO meat or dairy) and ALL containers/napkins provided by Bon Appetit (except for sushi containers, which are trash).

    Outdoor Backyard Bins

    There are 15 self-service black composting bins located on campus that are open to use by all students and employees.  

    1. Hi/Lo-Rise Apartments (outside of Hi Rise Laundry Room)
    2. The Bayit (157 Church St., between the Bayit and WesWings)
    3. Allbritton (next to Espwesso patio)
    4. 200 Church St. (near the parking lot)
    5. The Butterfields (against the wall of Butterfields A)
    6. Brainerd Ave. and Home Ave. (53 Home backyard)
    7. Exley (loading dock along Pine St. opposite the dumpsters)
    8. Warren St. and Fountain Ave. (backyard)
    9. Vine St. and Knowles Ave. (side yard)
    10. WestCo (on the courtyard near WestCo/Foss 1)
    11. Hewitt (outside Lounge on the side of Hewitt facing Vine St.)
    12. Farm House (344 Washington St. backyard)
    13. Full/Writing House (202 Washington St. side yard)
    14. College of the Environment (284 High St. backyard) 
    15. X House (facing Davison Health Center)

    Indoor - Student Residences and Offices

     

    • Dorms (during academic year only): 200 Church, Bennet, Butterfields A, B, and C, Clark, Writers' Block, Nics, and WestCo kitchens and/or lounges; ask your Eco Facilitator for location details
    • Program houses and other student residences that have opted into the program  
    • Offices that have opted into the program

     

     

  • What can I compost in the black bins, dorms, residences, and offices?

    Check out page two of the printable recycling/compost handout to understand what's compostable where on campus.

    Compostable

    • fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked)
    • tea bags
    • coffee grounds and filters
    • bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and other grains
    • eggs and eggshells
    • unbleached or brown paper towels and napkins

    Not compostable

    • "compostable" plates, cups, and cutlery
    • meat and fat
    • dairy
    • oils
    • liquids
    • recyclable materials (glass, metal, plastic)
    • plastic-coated and/or bleached paper products (items from WesWings and Red & Black)
    • plastic cups, cutlery, stirrers
    • cleaning products/chemicals
    • gloves (from food prep)
    • trash
  • What can I compost in public locations?

    Check out page two of the printable recycling/compost handout to understand what's compostable where on campus.

    Compostable

    • compostable dinnerware (Usdan/Pi/Summerfields, WesWings/Red & Black plates)
    • meat
    • dairy
    • fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked)
    • tea bags
    • coffee grounds and filters
    • bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and other grains
    • eggs and eggshells
    • unbleached or brown  paper towels and napkins

    Not compostable

    • oils
    • liquids
    • recyclable materials (glass, metal, plastic)
    • plastic-coated and/or bleached paper products (items from WesWings and Red & Black)
    • plastic cups, cutlery, stirrers
    • cleaning products/chemicals
    • gloves (from food prep)
    • trash
  • Where does the compost end up?

    Currently, all food waste and compostable dinnerware is sent to an industrial composting facility at 360 Recycling in Westfield, MA. 

    We are investigating strategies to fix the campus Earth Tubs so that finished compost can again be used as a soil amendment at Long Lane Farm.  Stay tuned!

  • How do I get a compost bucket?

    To request a bucket for an office or residence, fill out the bucket request form. Please be advised that the bucket supply changes with the season and new buckets are not always available immediately.

    Compost participants receive a bucket and instructions for collection and are responsible for emptying the bucket into the nearest black composting bin.
  • What do the Compost Interns do?

    The (amazing) Compost Interns are responsible for maintaining the residential composting program on campus and helping to reduce food waste across campus. 

    On a day-to-day level, that might look like:

    • Tabling for a future food waste reduction event at lunch and eat with fellow interns
    • Sending an email to Res Life to discuss ways to expand the composting program
    • Handing out food waste collection buckets to High Rise as a team
    • Posting on social media advertising the next composting event
    • Helping an Eco Facilitator ensure their bucket is groundhog proof
    • Getting a week’s worth of arm exercise shoveling and carrying filled compost buckets
    • Answering a friend’s text asking where they should bring their compost
    • Answering a random Facebook friend’s message about where they should bring their compost
    • Answering a parent’s voicemail about where they should bring their compost (noticing a theme?)
    • Driving an electric vehicle around campus and getting odd looks from students who aren’t sure what's going on

     

    Being a compost intern is dirty and smelly at times, but it is a really rewarding experience to be able to work on changing individuals’ behaviors while at the same time making a difference in the university’s carbon footprint and waste production through physical labor.  To contact the Compost Interns, email wesleyancompost@gmail.com

     

  • Spring Move Out

    Before you leave campus, please do the following:

    • Empty the remaining contents of your bucket into a black composting bin and rinse out the bucket.
    • Leave the bin with lid on next to the black bin.  If the black bin nearest you is full, please leave your full bucket with lid on next to the black bin.  Please do NOT leave bins by your back door, as this increases work substantially for the students collecting them.
    • Residence Hall residents: Eco Facilitators will remove the public compost bins from your building.  If you have a compost jar that you will not want to keep, please notify your Eco Facilitator so that we can reuse them.
    • Email jkleindienst@wesleyan.edu if you have any questions.