Residential Compost Program Completes First Semester

In Fall 2019, the WashU Green Ambassadors kicked off the Residential Compost Program across the S40 Residential campus after numerous student-led and student-funded pilot programs. The program showcases how students can develop leadership and project management skills by working together with the university administration to institutionalize new initiatives.

While this program has received the operational and financial support from campus partners required to be successful, it will continue to rely on student involvement to be successful in the future. Compost collection containers are distributed through an opt-in process because composting is new to many and requires a minimum level of orientation to use correctly. When collection is not done correctly, the program becomes more expensive (contamination fees are tacked on if non-compostable materials are too numerous), and less effective (because contaminated bins are landfilled).

WUGAs reached out to first-year students during Bear Beginnings, and all S40 residential students over the first few weeks of classes. The first info session packed the space with excited students, who quickly learned the in’s and out’s of composting.

The new semester, new year and new decade provides the opportunity for residential students living on the S40 to sign up and receive a collection container for their room or suite. Only 28 more containers are available, so all interested residents are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to ensure they will be able to receive a container for the remainder of the academic year.

By the Numbers

  • 110 buckets have been distributed to S40 residents. As a result, over 400 residents have access to a compost collection container in their room or suite.
  • Every trash room* in the S40 has a communal compost collection container, giving all students access to use it (with or without a personal collection bucket). *Due to space limitations, the compost collection sites in HIG and JKL are in the basement.
  • 5850 gallons of compost were collected and composted in Fall 2019 (9519 lbs).
  • Only 6 of 96 collection containers (64-gallon totes used by the compost transportation company) were rejected for too much contamination – that’s just 6.25% of the containers.


Do you love composting and want to make a difference? Consider becoming a WUGA for the 2020/21 school year. Applications will be opening soon!