How can I start composting on campus?

1. There are two composting areas on campus managed by University Sustainability. You are encouraged to contribute your biodegradable waste to the outdoor composts on the Fairfax campus located at the Potomac Heights Vegetable Garden and the Innovation Food Forest. There is also an indoor worm compost system in the Presidents Park Greenhouse for hands-on learning. Consider volunteering at the gardens or greenhouse to learn more and help maintain the composts.

2. Anyone can contribute to the outdoor compost piles on campus and here’s how!

Composting Requirements

  • No super oily foods, or animal products, like meat, dairy, shellfish, etc. (a little milk is OK, for instance leftover mac n cheese); but too much of these could make it stinky.
  • Good for composting: lots of paper products, and cardboard (ripped up preferably), plus coffee grounds, tea bags, plant debris, veggie scraps, fruit, not-so-oily leftovers, pasta, rice, bread, etc.
  • If possible please cover the fresh waste with other materials in the pile, so it can become dark and moist to allow quicker decomposition and to reduce odor.

Compost at the Potomac Heights Organic Vegetable Garden

  • Site location: the garden is located behind the Potomac Heights residence hall
  • Compost location: toward the back of garden, near the wall of the building
  • Use the compost pile on the left within the wooden walls

Compost at the Innovation Food Forest

  • Site location: alongside Innovation Hall and near the south plaza entrance to the Johnson Center
  • Compost location: follow gravel walkway uphill toward the Johnson Center until you see an opening to the woods
  • Use pile of fresh compost and not the finished (already looks like soil) pile
  • Or use on of our compost tumblers
    • Move the sliding door on the tumbler
    • Drop in your waste
    • Slide the door back on
    • Use your hands to press down on the drum and rotate it once or multiple times