Composting pilot projects begin on Danforth Campus

Students eating at the Crowder Courtyard at the School of Law will have an opportunity to compost some of their waste. (Credit: Joe Angeles)

Facilities Planning & Management and the Office of Sustainability are increasing composting opportunities for the WUSTL community through pilot programs with schools and departments across the Danforth Campus.

Beginning in August, visitors to Brown and Goldfarb halls of the Brown School, Anheuser-Busch Hall of the School of Law, and Facilities’ Millbrook Building will have an opportunity to compost some of their waste.

Composting — a process during which organic waste materials decay and form a rich soil that can be used for farming or landscaping — is an environmentally friendly alternative to sending such materials to a landfill and is less energy-intensive than recycling.

Through these pilot programs, the university has the opportunity to learn how to best implement composting initiatives in different locations with different university partners, says Phil Valko, director of sustainability.

Compostable waste also will be collected at Grounds for Change at the Brown School. (Credit: Joe Angeles)

“Composting saves energy, reduces landfill waste and produces a useful, nutrient-rich product,” Valko says.

“These pilot projects will help us fine-tune further composting opportunities across campus.”

The Office of Sustainability and Facilities has collaborated with the Brown School to collect paper towels in bathrooms as well as compostable waste generated at Grounds for Change cafe and building events at Brown and Goldfarb halls for composting.

The office also is partnering with the Washington University Energy & Environmental Law Society, School of Law, Aramark, and Facilities to collect food scraps and compostable serviceware in the Crowder Courtyard and paper towels at Anheuser-Busch Hall.

Key to both these programs is using compostable serviceware in dining locations. Aramark at the Crowder Courtyard and Grounds for Change have used compostable paper products for several years, which eased the addition of compost collection.

Some of the composted waste comes back to WUSTL and is used for landscaping. (Credit: David Kilper)

Paper towels and food also will be collected for composting in Facilities’ Millbrook Building.

Student volunteer “ambassadors” wearing green shirts will be on hand Sept. 20-24 in the Brown School and Anheuser-Busch Hall to help educate cafe users on what is and is not compostable. Volunteers are from the Brown School’s Environmental Justice Initiative and the Energy & Environmental Law Society.

The university works with St. Louis Composting, which takes WUSTL organic waste to its facility in Belleville, Ill., to be composted.

The finished product is sold to local landscaping companies who use it as a soil additive and mulch that WUSTL then buys back for use in the campus landscaping.

For more information about campus composting, email the Office of Sustainability at

For more information about composting initiatives by WUSTL Dining Services and other WUSTL events, visit