Compost collection comes to campus residence halls
Author: Campus Sustainability Office
Posted: December 2, 2014

Two years ago, Portland State launched its first compost program for students living in campus residence halls. The program encourages students to pick up a personal compost bin—a repurposed plastic yogurt container—from Victor’s dining hall in Ondine, collect food scraps in their dorm rooms, and return the bins to Victor’s to be emptied and cleaned out.

Now, thanks to a partnership between PSU and the city of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), composting food scraps will be even easier for students living on the west side of campus. Compost will be regularly picked up from the green roll carts outside of Blackstone, Blumel, King Albert, Montgomery, Parkway North, St. Helens, Stratford, and Stephen Epler residence halls, and each resident will receive a countertop food scrap collection pail donated by BPS. 

“There were lots of pails leftover from the initial launch of the city’s multifamily food scrap collection program, so we worked with BPS to get them out of storage and into campus residence halls,” said Jared O’Hagan, project lead with PSU’s Community Environmental Services, who helped broker the partnership.

Students living on the east side of campus—in Broadway or Ondine—won’t be receiving these pails, but can continue composting food scraps through the program at Victor’s.

Housing and Residence Life staff will distribute the pails this December. Like the lights and furniture, the pails will be considered part of the room’s infrastructure. If the pails are missing, dirty, or damaged upon move-out, residents will incur a small fee. 

The compost program is voluntary—residents can choose whether or not to collect food scraps in their rooms—but each room will receive a pail regardless. Those who choose to participate will empty their pails in green roll carts located outside their building.

“We’re hoping to provide residents with the same composting opportunities that they would have living in an apartment off campus,” said Brad Melaugh, food diversion coordinator for the Campus Sustainability Office. “Our volunteers and I have already heard a lot of positive and enthusiastic reactions to this program while tabling in the various residence halls. The goal is to encourage residents to collect their food scraps, dispose of them separately, and help the PSU community reduce our collective environmental impact.”