person standing on dirt made from compost

Why Compost?

  • Composting keeps waste from entering a landfill or being incinerated. In a landfill items break down and release methane gas, having a greater green house gas impact on our atmosphere, where composting does not produce methane.
  • At Macalester our trash is incinerated to create electricity, which has less of a footprint than a landfill.  Composting dramatically reduces the amount of this waste. According to a 2014 waste sort, 77% of the college’s trash could be recycled or composted instead of being thrown away.

Where Will our Compostable Material Go?

The organic (compostable) waste Macalester produces is picked up by our waste hauler and brought to the Mulch Store in Empire Township.

How Can I Compost?

Compost bins should be be available in all buildings.  Look for labeled compost bins in common areas of nonresidential buildings, kitchen spaces in dorms, and bathrooms with paper towel dispensers.

What is Compostable at Macalester?

  • All food scraps
  • Napkins, paper towels, tissues
  • Paper plates, cups and food containers
  • Paper bags and waxed paper (fast food wraps, etc.)
  • Coffee grounds, filters and tea bags
  • Pizza boxes
  • Compostable silverware and cups with the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) logo

What is Not Compostable at Macalester?

Plastics #1-#7 (not bearing the BPI logo), styrofoam, foil, condiment packets, chip bags and candy wrappers (Please note: depending on the product, BPI plastic also bears the #7 recyclable symbol).

Who Does Compostables?

  • Bon Appétit catering is committed to using compostables.  Whether buying something at one of their retail locations on campus or catering with them, all of their products are compostable.
  • As of 2015, MCSG has committed that no non-compostable wares are to be purchased with their funds.  This was an important step of getting Macalester closer to our goal of Zero Waste by 2020.

Where Do I Get Compostable Dishes?

  • Regular, plain paper cups, plates, and napkins are already compostable; however, plasticware must have the BPI logo to enter our compost waste stream.
  • You can request dishware using the Compostable Wares Order Form for any size event; for on campus departments orders will be delivered within 24 hours, while Student Organizations will pick up their ordered items from Document services after you receive your confirmation email (Please note: Leaders must write “student org” when prompted for a FOAPAL to receive dishware paid for by MCSG).
  • This program will save departments and organizations the money and hassle of buying their own disposables – compostable or not – elsewhere.

Composting Saves Everyone Money

  • Material sent to a landfill or incinerator is subject to a 70% tax – 17% is a state tax while 53% is assessed by Ramsey County.  Like recyclables, compostable material sent to a commercial compost site is not taxed by Minnesota or Ramsey County which creates a financial incentive for its residents and businesses to do the right thing.
  • In addition to the financial savings from taxes, the Sustainability Office has found that the compostable wares that Macalester buys are significantly less expensive – per piece – than any other retailer.
  • For further information contact the Sustainability Office at .