Composting has become an integral part of the waste reduction process. Much like understanding the basics of sorting your recycling or knowing what goes in the trash, understanding the basics of composting can be very important. Simply put, compost is anything natural that comes from the earth that will decompose over time. This includes the following: food scraps, soiled paper, paper containers, tea bags, coffee grounds, and compostable plastics.
WHAT IS COMPOST?
Compost is created by the biological decomposition of organic material. This process occurs naturally through the combination of microorganisms, oxygen, heat, and moisture.
Once compostable material undergoes this natural process, which can be accelerated by modern technology, the final product is useful for:
• Erosion and sediment control,
• Storm water management,
• Forest fire reclamation, and
• Sold to consumers through retail markets (to be used as a soil amendment instead of chemical fertilizers)
Compost adds nutrients, organic matter, and microorganisms to soil!
In contrast to the traditional recycling process, compostable materials are usually collected, processed, and distributed locally.
As listed above, there are numerous uses for compost. In addition, collecting materials for compost will:
• Continue to improve the university’s recycling rate
• Conserve landfill capacity
• Reduce methane production in landfills
• Reduce transportation distance of the discarded materials
• MAKE COMPOST!
LOCAL COMPOSTING SITE:
The compostable material collected on campus is delivered to Western Branch, the Prince George’s County Compost Facility. This facility is owned and operated by the Maryland Department of the Environment and collects yard trim, Christmas trees, pumpkins, and other compostable material from within Prince George’s County and the surrounding areas. Information on their composting procedures can be found here.
The compost created through our partnership with Prince George’s County is also used at our own Terp Farm!
WHERE TO COMPOST ON CAMPUS:
Compost collection is currently available in select administrative, academic, and residential buildings on campus. A map of these locations can be found here.
All compostables must be collected in approved bags. The list of bags approved by the local composting facility can be found here.
REQUEST COMPOST COLLECTION FOR A CAMPUS EVENT:
The Facilities Management Recycling Unit can provide compost collection to campus events for a small fee. For $20.00, FM staff will deliver up to four (4) compost bins, signage, and compostable bags prior to your event. This fee also includes pick up of the compostable waste and collection material and transportation to the local composting facility.
To request this service please submit a work request through the Customer Response Center.
EXPANSION OF THE COMPOST COLLECTION PROGRAM:
The Facilities Management Recycling Unit is working in conjunction with many campus groups to continuously expand compost collection throughout the UMD community.
WHAT TO COMPOST ON CAMPUS: