Waste Reduction: Compost

Yard and food waste are collected and composted.   When biodegradable materials are composted they are processed into a material that can be used as a soil amendment.  Conversely, when biodegradable materials are placed in landfills they do not break down in the same manner and do not result in a useful product.

Yard Waste Composting

In fall 2008, Elon began collecting and composting its own yard waste in a facility located on the edge of campus. In 2013-14, approximately 153 tons of compost were produced from yard waste collected. The facility closes the loop on the University’s yard waste as the final compost product is used in campus landscaping to improve soil quality and reduce water and fertilizer requirements.

Food and Biodegradable Service Ware Composting

All food waste and compostable food containers that are collected are composted in a commercial facility off-campus.

What can I compost at Elon? All food scraps including bones, peels, coffee grinds, etc. can be composted. 
Compostable items at Fountain Market     Compostable items at Winter Garden Cafe    

Where can I dispose of my compostables? Compostables can be disposed of in orange bins throughout campus.

Residential Neighborhoods
Colonnades and Global: Orange compost bins are located in the lobbies of each building.
Danieley and the Oaks: A compost bin is located in the waste corals.  Simply take your compostables out at the same time as your recycling and trash.
Station at Mill Point: Plant-based food scraps can be taken to the compost tumbler by the Station at Mill Point community garden.

Interested in compostables being collected on your floor or building? Check out the Compost Leader Program.

Dining Facilities
Customers with leftover food or compostable to-go containers can dispose of items in the compost bins located at Winter Garden, Fountain Market and Daniel Commons. All dining facilities collect food scraps ‘behind the scenes’ for compost.  This includes leftover food that cannot be donated to Campus Kitchen and food scraps left on plates. 

Athletic Events
Many athletic events have ‘Mind the Bin’ stations.  Compostable items can be placed in the orange bin.

Special Events
As of October 1, 2015 Mill Point Catering is using compostable serviceware as their default.  Due to this change, event organizers utilizing Mill Point Catering no longer need to request compost bins.  They should be automaticly provided. If the bins are not provided call Physical Plant to get one immediately and report the issue to Catering.

For University approved events involving food from off-campus vendors, temporary compost bins are free and can be ordered by submitting a work order through FixIt. Simply specify the number of bins needed, where and when (date and time) they are needed.

Additional Composting FAQs

Why can I compost my plastic looking cups and utensils? Though some cold cups and silverware may look like plastic they are actually made from plant materials, not oil-based plastic so it is safe to compost them.

Are meat, dairy, citrus and bones allowed in the compost?Yes. Though not a good idea for a backyard system, these items break down just fine in a commercial facility.

How do I request compost bins for a special event?You can request compost bins by placing a work order through FixIt for the number of compost bins you would like. Be sure to include the date of the event, the time you would like bins to be there and an expected end time.

What type of serviceware can I buy in a pinch if I am hosting an event? Typical grocery stores carry paper plates and bowls that are compostable.  Some are labeled as such, but as long as they are paper based and do not have a waxy coating they should be OK to compost.  If you are hosting an approved, non-catered event with food for fewer than 50 people, talk to your neighborhood’s Eco-Rep about having compostables provided.