The university composts food waste in all dining locations.

Stakeholders at the university want to ensure that leftover food scraps are used to create high-grade compost and not be fed to animals. Through our partnership with Casella Waste Solutions and Casella Organics, a local composting facility was identified to accept our food waste. A portion of all the compost we generate is brought back to campus for use each year in the urban agriculture site to grow new food completing the farm to campus sustainability loop. This food composting program is recognized as a sustainable model for higher education.


How It Works

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts 2030 Solid Waste Master Plan creates new programs, requirements, and incentives to reduce waste across all streams and requires diversion of food waste to compost and anaerobic digestion from any location that produces more than one-half ton of material per week. UMass Lowell (UML) continues to be a leader to anaerobic digestion of back-of-house food waste with our Grind2Energy systems on campus.

Composting is performed by the dining staff in all of the following areas: residential dining halls, the Tsongas Center, the Inn and Conference Center, and all coffee shops. Front of House composting is even offered for customers and community members at Crossroads Cafe in University Crossing and in the food court in Southwick Hall.

In addition, the Rist Institute for Sustainability & Energy funded fellowships to identify barriers to new composting locations across campus and pursue new opportunities.

What is compostable?

  • Food scraps
  • Paper food containers
  • Paper towels and napkins
  • Any items labeled as compostable
  • NO plastic, metal, or glass