What is Composting?

Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste can be turned into compost. One benefit of composting is that it diverts waste from landfills and produces less methane than landfills. Another benefit is that compost enriches soil and is beneficial to plants.

(from the EPA website)


Composting at the University of Wisconsin - Stout

"UW-Stout has worked to become a leader in waste reduction by offering many ways to reduce waste on campus."--UW-Stout

The UW-Stout campus began campus-wide composting in 2010. According to Sarah Rykal, the sustainability manager at Stout, compost collected on campus is brought to Advanced Disposal's composting facility in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. They use Windrow composting to break it down and then sell the compost to nurseries. Windrow composting is the method most commonly used for large scale composting, It involves putting the organic waste in ling piles and periodically turning the piles to aerate, according to the EPA. An advantage of this type of compost is that all food scrapes can be composted. With some other forms of composting, bones, meat, and egg shells cannot be composted. This is beneficial for composting on campus because students do not have to worry about separating food that can and cannot be composted, which could deter them from composting at all. In addition to all food scrapes, to go containers, utensils from campus dining, napkins, pizza boxes, and some other food containers such as cups can be composted on campus. 

In 2013, as an effort to promote waste reduction, the campus removed all trash canes from classrooms and put easily accessible trash, compost, and recycling bins in the hallway. According to Scott Griesbach, executive director of Student Life Services, this campus wide program makes recycling and composting “convenient, raises awareness, enhances understanding, and helps develop habits” 

For more information visit: https://www.uwstout.edu/life-stout/sustainability/waste-reduction

Green To Go Program

Green to Go

Our campus dining facilities offer the Green To Go program. Students and staff can purchase reusable to-go containers for a small, one-time fee and use these containers any time they visit of dining facility. (Taken from UW-Stout composting homepage.) 

Waste data on the UW-Stout campus since 2011

*note that when this data was received, 2018 was not yet over so that data for 2018 is not for the entire year and may not be accurate

It is evident by this data that the efforts the campus has made to increase sustainability through composting and recycling have been successful. There has been a sharp decrease in the amount of trash produces on campus since 2011 and a fairly steady increase in both compost and recycling. 

Off-campus composting 

Based on 16 responses to a survey on student composting habit, it was determined that most students make an effort to compost on campus, where composting is available, but not off campus, where composting is less likely to be available. 

Question 1) If you live off campus do you make an effort to compost at home?

Yes 25%

No 75%


Question 2) Do you make an effort to compost while on campus?

Yes 87.5%

No 12.5%