Residential Compost Program

Residential Compost Program

Create a zero-waste campus by composting food scraps and napkins where you live.  The Residential Compost Program helps to educate, inform, and catalyze a low-waste culture by supporting peer-to-peer education and easily accessible compost location spots across campus.

Green 5 gallon compost bucket
Look for these 5-gallon compost buckets in residential facilities around campus.

About the Program

Composting is available in all on-campus residential communities. Students and others living on campus can apply to become Compost Managersleaders on-campus overseeing kitchen compost bins within their residential communities and who provide peer-to-peer education on composting practices, or learn how to compost correctly with a short residential compost certification.

Cornell’s compost facility, operated by Farm Services, turns 4,000 tons of organic waste annually into high quality compost. Instead of trucking the waste to a landfill, it is composted at a location just one mile from campus. Composting reduces the amount of waste generated at the University, and lessens the need for energy-intensive transportation. Finished compost provides a valuable resource for local agricultural and landscape plantings.

Visit the Cornell Sustainability Waste Map to find all on-campus composting locations.

Become a Compost Manager: Fall 2023 - Spring 2024

Our campus is able to provide composting in every residential community through a dedicated network of volunteers who coordinate the campus-wide program.  

Compost Managers empty compost bins weekly, work to reduce food waste contamination, and communicate with residential staff and the Campus Sustainability Office.  By working solo and in teams, Compost Managers maintain one compost bucket on a weekly basis and serve as educators within their community.  Compost Managers must attend one training session to learn their role and pick up their compost bucket.

  • Students, staff, and families living in on-campus housing can become Compost Managers.

  • The training will teach you about how to follow composting rules on campus and ensure our waste stream can be effectively maintained. 

Sign up for Training (2023-2024)
Upcoming sessions:
Saturday, Sept 2nd from 11:00am-12:00pm EST (via Zoom)
Saturday, Sept 2nd from 1:00pm-2:00pm EST (via Zoom)

Compost on Campus

Anyone living on-campus can compost in your residential community.

Ready, set, compost!  It's important to learn the rules about what can (and can't) be composted on campus.  When materials are improperly disposed of in a compost bin, the entire bucket goes to the landfill to prevent contamination.  Help us prevent waste contamination by taking a short residential composting course to learn why and how we compost.  You can find composting location on campus on the sustainability waste map.

Live off-campus? Find Tompkins County’s compost drop spots for options in the local community. 


Residential Composting Resources

Get involved, spread the word! Browse this open-resource folder filled with stickers, signage, and badges to spread awareness for composting & effective waste management.

Sample Materials
Compost rules sign
Poster with text "food scraps and napkins only in compost on campus"
Round sticker with text 'Cornell's waste is in your hands'