Sustainability Initiative at Aquinas College

Composting Program on Campus

Aquinas College has partnered with a Michigan-based commercial compost company to handle the campus' organic waste. 
What is Composting?
Composting is a system which utilizes natural processes to decompose organic materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The rate at which materials decompose in a composting pile depends on several factors, such as pile size, material inputs, and how often it is turned. Oxygen is a key element in the composting process, needed to support the growth of bacteria to break down the organic materials. For this reason, composting piles are turned to ensure that oxygen is available throughout the pile, helping to speed the decomposition process. The end product of composting is fertile, nutrient rich soil.
The "Ins and Outs" of AQ Composting
Green Composting binSo, you may be asking yourself, what can I compost? How will I know if something is biodegradable or not?

Don't worry- it's easy. On every composting bin you will find a list of items that can and cannot be composted. The green composting containers are located alongside the blue recycling containers all across campus. Just like trash bins, these composting bins will be emptied frequently to avoid the buildup of odors. 

Here's a basic list of acceptable items:

  • Food Scraps
  • Food Soiled Paper such as:
    • Paper Cups
    • Coffee Grounds & Filters
    • Paper Towels & Napkins
    • Paper Plates 
    • Pizza Boxes
  • Low Grade Paper such as:
    • Tissue Paper
    • Tissues
    • Straw Wrappers
    • Paper Sugar Packets
  • Compostable Plastics (look for the words "PLA" or "Compostable" to identify compostable plastics)

Special Collections:
Paper Towel Composting: Did you know that the paper towels we use to dry our hands are compostable? We need your help to keep paper towel waste out of landfills and the local incinerator. All large cans in campus bathrooms are now designated as paper towel only, and a small trashcan is provided for non-compostable materials. Paper towels and other compostable waste will eventually become nutritious plant food instead of being trapped in a landfill for generations or incinerated, which releases harmful emissions into our air.
Composting Crocks: Composting crocks are provided for residents in all apartments and campus houses. These crocks are meant to collect kitchen scraps and offer a middle option for composting. It is the student’s responsibility to empty their composting crock into the larger centralized bin for their building. It is also their responsibility to assure the crock is clean and emptied regularly to avoid odors.
Composting Coffee Grounds: All coffee grounds and filters generated in the Moose are composted using a special collection container.