Composting Pilot Update

The Zero Waste Mason goal is to divert 90% of the university’s waste away from the incineration via reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting. To achieve this goal, waste reduction, reuse, and diversion strategies like composting are needed.    

With operational support from Facilities Management and financing from the Patriot Green Fund,  Mason's first Industrial Composting Pilot was successfully installed zero waste bin upgrades at the Starbucks Northern Neck site in 2022. This was made possible with partnership from Mason’s Auxiliary Services and Dining teams who piloted this imitative in support of the Zero Waste Mason goal. 

Industrial compost bins accept both third-party certified compostable items along with all types of food scraps. Check your compostable foodservice ware items for a BPI or CMA certification mark before disposing them at one of Mason’s industrial composting locations! 

Locating the recycling, trash, and compost bins together (co-location) increases access for Mason Patriots to appropriately dispose of their waste. Mason Facilities Zone 6 and Recycling teams expanded the pre-existing Bigbelly Solar waste and recycling station (installed in fall 2021) on the Starbucks patio by adding a compost bin. In addition, they replaced separate trash, recycling, and compost bins inside the lobby with a Max-R station, co-locating all the bins in a single station. 

  • The Max-R zero waste station is made of approximately 1,655 reclaimed milk jugs – key to supporting post-consumer recycled (PCR) purchasing goals and guidance.It offers updated zero waste design features, like waste stream co-location, restrictive lid openings, and color-coded messaging.  
  • The Bigbelly Solar station was upgraded with an additional solar-powered compost bin, equipped with smart-waste management design features that send Waste and Recycling team members notification alerts when bins need to be emptied in real-time.   

The industrial composting pilot was such a success, Strategic Investment Fund finances were secured by University Sustainability and used to install 23 Bigbelly zero waste stations 

Bigbelly zero waste stations provide public composting access at 6 Fairfax Campus locations. They support the Zero Waste Mason goal, as well as new strategies to co-locate all waste and recycling bins while installing standardized bin messaging across all campus disposal locations.

Explore the 2022 Industrial Composting Pilot’s results and the impact of the new Bigbelly zero waste station locations below. 

‘Backyard’ Composting Piles on the Fairfax Campus 

Volunteers in the Potomac Heights Garden. Photo by: Sierra Guard/Creative Services/George Mason University

Mason’s Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden and Innovation Food Forest include outdoor compost piles for disposing of fruit and vegetable scraps only. All Mason community members can dispose of ‘backyard’ compostable materials at on-campus composting piles.

  • Check out this flyer to learn how to sort your compost at Mason!
  • Explore our Zero Waste Mason page for additional composting guidance.