Food Waste and Composting

Comet Composting Initiative

Personal composting container displaying a chart of compostable materials.

The University of Texas at Dallas has evolved its composting program from previously targeting only landscape waste, to including pre and post-consumer food waste, and now to providing students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to compost on-campus. Since 2012, UT Dallas has composted over 500,000 lbs. of food waste, therefore diverting 81 metric tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere campus-wide. Since expanding the compost program into Housing in September 2018, over 11,000 lbs. of food waste has been composted from on-campus resident participants.

Comet Composting Training

Comet Composting is a program for UT Dallas students, staff, and faculty to compost organic material easily and efficiently on campus. Composting utilizes breaking down organic material for agricultural and energy applications, effectively diverting waste from the landfill. Using supplies provided by the UT Dallas Student Government, the campus community can help reduce food waste and the negative ecological impact of our campus. Participants will be trained in composting, provided with a composting caddy, and given access to the large composting bins located across campus. Participate in the Comet Composting program by watching the training video and completing a short knowledge assessment.

Food Service Composting

Food Service Composting

Composting is an important part of the campus waste management program that is continuously evolving. Pre-consumer food waste contributions began in 2011 in partnership with Dining Services and Facilities Management. In August 2017, a partnership with Organix Recycling formed and enhanced the overall composting program at UT Dallas. With the transition, specialized compost containers were installed near kitchen locations, therefore simplifying the pre-consumer food waste collection process. With this new partnership, additional food items became acceptable in the waste stream that were not previously accepted (for example, meat and dairy products), increasing the amount of food waste that is recycled. As of current, Dining Services has taken the lead and moved to all food waste collections in Dining Hall West.

Residential Composting

Residential Composting

Composting has been on the mind of students for many years. In fall 2018, the UT Dallas Student Government Green Initiative Committee took the lead and collaborated with The Office of Sustainability within Facilities Management, Housing, and Organix Recycling to make the composting program accessible to residents of University Village and Canyon Creek Apartments. In order to participate in the program, residents must attend a compost training. At the training, residents will learn what goes in the compost containers, how to manage individualized food collection caddies, and acquire a combination for the lock securing the containers. The locations of the compost containers are on the Our Green Campus (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ) map.

Landscape Waste

UT Dallas Landscape Composting Operations

Managing a university includes tree and landscape maintenance. When enough wood-based landscape waste is collected, Facilities Management calls in a grinder to grind all the material into a mulch product. This creates what we call “Mulch Mountain”. Once complete, the material is reused in landscaping to keep UT Dallas beautiful.