Has the university looked into composting?

Through a partnership with Veteran Compost, Mason composts all pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste generated at Southside, Ike’s, and the Globe dining halls. Veteran Compost began collecting compost on Mason’s campus in June of 2019 and has collected 47 tons of compost from Mason’s dining facilities! The compost collected by Veteran Compost is transported to their facility on Whitehall Farms in nearby Clifton, VA (they operate a larger site in Aberdeen, Maryland as well). Mason is currently exploring strategies to expand its composting operations to include other Fairfax campus buildings as well as Mason’s campuses in Arlington, Sterling, Manassas, Lorton, Woodbridge, and Front Royal. We even hope to eventually extend composting to our campus in Incheon, South Korea!

Additionally, the student-run Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden and Innovation Food Forest house on-campus sites for small-scale, composting (non-industrial composting occurs at the sites which means that meat, dairy, and polylactic acid (or PLA) items are not accepted). During the summer of 2019, University Sustainability partnered with the Northern Neck Starbucks, the JC Starbucks, and the Merten Hall Einstein Bros. Bagels to launch a volunteer-based, coffee grounds composting initiative. Since the beginning of this initiative, student volunteers and University Sustainability staff have daily collected buckets of coffee grounds from these locations in addition to pizza boxes from the JC pizza box collection stations for composting at the Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden and the Innovation Food Forest. Individuals within our campus community may utilize both composting sites for individual food waste, but please remember that dairy, meat, and polylactic acid (PLA) items are not accepted. *Due to COVID-19, all composting operations are temporarily suspended. 

For more information on Mason’s current composting efforts, please view the Composting page under our Zero Waste web page.