Composting on Campus

Compostables make up the highest percentage (by weight) of divertible waste at UNC Asheville. Before the office compost program was introduced in 2014, a waste stream analysis of campus buildings showed that an average of 42% (by weight) of the waste stream could be composted rather than landfilled. Within 8 months of implementation, there was a 48% improvement in diverting office compostables from the landfill! See what can be composted on campus by checking out our Composting Guide.


The UNC Asheville composting program started in the dining halls in 2010. Food waste is collected at all campus dining facilities. Many of the plates and utensils are reusable or made with biodegradable materials. Dining services offers compostable serveware and china as options for catered events on campus. Pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste is collected by Danny’s Dumpster and composted at their local processing facility. In the 2015-2016 school-year, over 90 tons of food waste was diverted from the landfill through the composting program. Check other sustainability efforts on the dining services webpage.

Residence Hall Composting Program

A student run composting pilot in selected residence halls was started in late 2014 by the Student Environmental Center. Students are responsible for collecting food waste in their rooms and emptying personal containers into larger, central composting stations (map of compost drop-off locations). Contact the SEC to request a personal composting container.

Office Compost Collection

Food waste and paper towels are currently collected for composting in three Academic/ Adim buildings on the UNC Asheville campus: Ramsey Library, Phillips Hall and Millar Facilities Complex. Each staff or faculty member is responsible for bringing their personal compostables to centralized waste sorting stations.  A small compostable collection container is available for each office, upon request. The common area bins, lined with compostable bags, are collected by the student Environmental Assistants or Housekeeping staff and placed into roll carts outside the buildings. In addition to the collection of food waste in these buildings, paper towels for hand drying are also collected in the restrooms for composting. We plan to expand the office composting program in the 2016-2017 school year.

Yard Waste

UNC Asheville Grounds Department maintains over 400 acres of campus property. Thousands of trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, and groundcovers contribute to the campus organics waste stream. All brush generated from campus is collected into a brush pile and is ground periodically by a tub grinder into mulch. This mulch is reused on campus. Wood waste consists of items such as pallets, shipping forms, and untreated dimensional lumber. Absolutely no treated wood or wood products containing glues or paint can be placed into the campus brush pile. Grass and leaves from campus are composted at the Millar Facilities Complex. In the 2014-2015 school year, over 43 tons of yard waste was composted or ground for mulch. This saved landfill space equivelent to 9.5 school buses!