Preventing kitchen scraps from entering the traditional waste stream keeps a valuable resource out of the landfill and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Food scraps and coffee grounds can be added to other materials like yard waste to make a natural fertilizer, compost, that is good for gardening, flowers, and lawns.

At UWM, we manage two separate streams for compost.

The Office of Sustainability’s Compost assistants play an important role in pre-cooked food waste here on UWM’s campus.  The Sandburg Café produces about 3,000 pounds of pre-consumer waste per week. Compost Assistants and volunteers work to haul these kitchen scraps to the campus hoop house, where the magic (aerobic composting) happens. After a few months of careful monitoring and microbe-assisted magic, those unwanted food scraps become a nutrient-loaded fertilizer that the Office of Sustainability uses on garden plots found all around campus.

Other forms of food waste like meat, dairy, or after-meal scraps are sent to our off-campus partner, Compost Crusader. Post-consumer compost is collected from the Sandburg Cafe dining hall and from UWM’s 20/20 Catering.  Compost Crusader has an industrial, anaerobic composting operation which collects food scraps from many residential and commercial donors in Milwaukee. You can learn more about Compost Crusader on their website.

The OoS mission with composting is to implement a more sustainable way of handling UWM’s waste. We keep kitchen scraps from entering the traditional waste stream landfill, turn that waste into valuable fertilizer, and help reduce UWM’s greenhouse gas emissions.

You can get involved with this process, too!  Donate your food scraps (fruits, veggies, coffee grounds, egg shells) to the hoop house.  Collection bins are located on either side of the hoop house and are clearly marked.

Student Spotlight