The introduction of composting in dorm bathrooms is a collaborative effort between the Sustainability Assistants, Custodial Services, and Facilities. With the introduction of unbleached paper towels, bathroom waste in dorms became primarily compostable, with only small portions of trash and recycling generated. With more than 50 shared bathrooms in ten dorms on campus, switching the bathroom waste stream from trash to composting had a significant impact – approximately 12,000 pounds of paper towels each year!
In November 2010, compostable liners and educational signs were introduced in the bathrooms of one of the dorms, and dorm residents were informed of the pilot program via email and their weekly floor meetings. Throughout winter 2011, dorms were added incrementally to the program, and as the educational component of the program evolved to meet custodians’ needs, the pilot program continued successfully. By the end of the 2010-11 school year, trash bins were converted into compost bins in all shared dorm bathrooms.
Since 2010, bathroom composting has been added to academic buildings as part of the Community Waste Program. Composting is now campus-wide.
Bathroom Composting Guidelines
Although bathroom composting is processed by the same facility as all other campus composting (The Mulch Store, via Dick’s Sanitation, Inc.), food waste should still be composted only in dorm kitchen receptacles in order to reduce odors, as kitchen composting is emptied more regularly. Bathroom composting includes paper towels, tissues and other bathroom paper products (with the exception of feminine hygiene products). Smaller trash bins are still provided in bathrooms for items that must be thrown away, and recycling bins are available in hallways, kitchens, and individual rooms.