Photo of food scrapsOSU composts food waste in a variety of ways on campus, including in dining centers and cafes, residence halls with an Eco-Rep, office break rooms, and more. OSU also composts large quantities of landscape debris, animal bedding and scrap wood.

Click the following links to learn more.

For questions, please contact us.

OSU Compost Policy

OSU Materials Management Policy for Changes to Compost Materials Collection

Effective as of January 1, 2017


OSU has a compost collection program which, for approximately the past two years, included Poly Lactic Acid based plastics or “PLA”. Many of OSU’s students, faculty and staff have come to consider food utensils and cups that are produced using this technology as acceptable in the composting stream and have sorted these as compost at special events, and at certain campus facilities with established compost collection.

In July of 2016, Repluc Services (OSU's compost hauler and processor) notified OSU that they will no longer accept non-fiber based materials, including PLA produced products, as part of their collection. These changes will be enforced through potential penalties to OSU and those it services for compost collection, including being charged disposal fees for loads of compost materials that don’t meet Republic’s new standards. These new acceptance standards are effective as of January 1, 2017.

Policy Change

To comply with this policy, OSU Campus Recycling will no longer accept non-fiber based materials, including products containing PLA, in the current compost program. It is recognized that this policy has a significant impact on current operations where the sale of food is involved, particularly dining halls, contracted food vendors, and catered events, both by OSU Catering and outside vendors.

Campus Recycling will work closely with all food managers and their staff to help eliminate, or significantly reduce, the disposal of these materials in compost collection containers. The profiles below have been developed using feedback about how to move forward with our compost policy and procedures that may affect our various operations differently.

Dining Halls

All Campus Dining Halls will move to “back of house” only separation of food leftovers from consumer sales. All staff will be trained to separate out any plastic, non-fiber based cutlery and plastic cups. Pre-sorting by consumers at the point of disposal is not encouraged unless there are monitors guiding consumers at compost disposal locations.

Catered Events

All event planners are encouraged to use low packaging or ”zero” waste guidelines when planning menus for outdoor and indoor events. Events that fulfill the new Republic policy requirements, involving distribution of compostable “Fiber Based” only packaging, will be provided compost collection bins and carts by Campus Recycling. Any events involving both acceptable and non-acceptable packaging (see below) for composting must provide recycling station monitors. Monitors are responsible for instructing consumers on which materials are acceptable for composting, recycling and trash/landfill.

OSU Food Vendors Contracted by OSU

OSU Contract Managers are encouraged to review the current contract requirements for all vendors that are selling or distributing food on the OSU Campus. As soon as possible, contracts should stipulate the requirements of this policy as part of the vendor’s terms for successfully fulfilling the contract. Current vendors that have adopted the use of all acceptable fiber based packaging materials will be encouraged to participate in OSU’s composting collection program.

Vendors that are not in compliance with this policy will not have compost collected. 

Public Area Composting

Areas of Campus such as Valley Library and North Porch Café that host and manage compost collection in public spaces will no longer accept serving ware of any type in their compost. Building occupants and visitors should be directed to place these items in the trash bins. In order to continue providing compost collection for public use, building representatives that manage these collections will be required to receive training from Campus Recycling. Contact us to learn about training opportunities.

Other Managers or designated staff of event venues such as the Memorial Union, LaSells Stewart Center and CH2M Hill Alumni Center that provide ongoing public area compost collection will also be required to modify their collection and receive training.

Campuswide Compost Acceptance Guidelines

Acceptable Organic Materials
  • Pre and Post Consumer Food Waste
  • Pre-Approved Fiber Based Compostable Service Ware*
  • Yard Debris
  • Wood Waste

*Compostable Service Ware: Fiber Based Compostable service ware (including cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons, etc) are approved for commercial customers only. Fiber Based Compostable service ware needs to be certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI). A list of BPI certified products and distributors can be found at

Commercial customers must submit a list of current products to their account manager one month prior to submitting materials for processing. Customers will be notified if products in their waste stream are incompatible with the PRC normal operational procedures and will be asked to exclude those products within 30 days of notification.

A list of pre-approved service ware is available here and is currently under development (more will be added).

Non-Accepted Materials
  • Glass
  • Metals
  • Plastic
  • Shrink Wrap
  • Wax Coated Paper (including waxed cardboard)
  • Painted or Treated Wood
  • Wood with Laminates, Glues, or Resins
  • Street Sweepings (or leaves collected off of the curb)
  • Non-Food Industrial Waste
  • Non-Approved Compostable Products

For More Information

Contact John Deuel via email or 541-737-2856.

Composting in Departments

Campus Recycling works with departments and buildings on the Corvallis campus to compost food waste. Below is a list of options; please review them and then contact us to make arrangements for what will work best for you and your department.

Departmental Compost Options

Collection Route

Collect food waste in a break room and dump it into an outdoor compost cart that we service. This option is great for those who are in larger departments and are willing to engage the department/building occupants to participate.

90-gallon roll cart for composting6-gallon bucket for compost2-gallon bucket for compost

We provide:

  1. An outdoor compost bin or cart (serviced weekly)
  2. A lidded bucket for indoor use - the department will be responsible for washing and emptying into the outdoor cart
  3. Instructional sign(s)

The department may choose either a 2-gallon pail with a flip-top lid or a 6-gallon bucket with a screw-on lid. A 6-gallon bucket will be provided for outdoor use; if this capacity is insufficient, please inform us so that it can be exchanged for a 90-gallon roll-cart.

You provide:

  1. Help communicating with and engaging your department/building so the bin is utilized (via emailing, signage, presentations, word-of-mouth, etc) 
  2. A designated person to maintain the indoor bucket (empty about 2 times per week, wash container periodically)

What is accepted: All food waste (including animal products) and some fibers (napkins, coffee filters, paper towels and pizza boxes).

Worms Bins

Use red wigglers to break down waste! This option is great for those who would like to manage their own composting and want the finished product.

We provide:

  1. A ready-to-go worm bin with sign(s)worm bin
  2. Additional bedding (shredded paper) if/when needed 
  3. A care guide and answers to any questions

You provide: A designated person to maintain the bin (bury food, add bedding, harvest)

What is accepted: Non-animal food waste (NO meat/dairy/eggs), paper napkins, paper towels, cardboard


Your question may already be answered on our FAQ page.

To Sign-Up:

Fill out our department compost request form.

For More Information:

Andrea Norris
(541) 737-5398

Department Compost Request

Please enter your first and last name.
Please enter your OSU phone number.
Please provide the name(s) of the departments who will be using the compost bin.
Select the option you would like for your department.
Please provide the building and room number where you would like the bin located.
We can provide informational, instructional wall signage that you can hang above your bin.
Include any additional comments or notes, if needed.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Department Compost FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Which option is right for me?

  • Worm bins are great for those who are interested in managing their own compost and want the finished product.
  • The collection route is great for those who are in larger departments and are willing to engage their department/building occupants to participate.

Will my compost bin start to smell and attract pests?

We believe that by removing your food waste from open trash cans and instead containing it in a lidded bin, you are less likely to encourage smells or attract pests. Secondly, if you are using a worm bin, you control how often your compost is emptied, whereas you typically cannot control how often your trash is removed.

If you are on our collection route, we provide a large cart just outside your building (much like a household yard-debris cart), as well as small bins to use inside your department. This way, the indoor bin can be taken out as often as you see fit and the outdoor cart will be serviced once a week.

What exactly is a worm bin?

Worm composting is a method for recycling food waste into a rich, dark, earthy-smelling soil conditioner using red wigglers. We provide a bin full of bedding and worms. Then you put your food scraps inside the bedding and the worms will process it. An advantage of worm composting is that you can keep the worm castings, which is one of the best and cheapest soil amendments for your garden. Also, if taken care of properly, worm bins won’t smell or attract pests. We will provide a list with tips and tricks to maintain a healthy worm bin.

Where will my compost go?

  • If you use a worm bin, the finished compost can be used however you like.
  • If you are on the collection route, the material will be processed at the Pacific Region Compost Facility, located about 11 miles north of Corvallis. There it will be mixed with yard debris and wood waste and made into a product that can be purchased by local farms, nurserys or private individuals.

Why should we compost in our department?

Composting is a topic of growing interest throughout the country for several reasons. The landfills around the country are starting to fill up and become more and more expensive. Composting is a beneficial alternative to garbage and healthy for the environment. Compost your office’s food scraps instead of sending them to the landfill. Help make OSU a better place to live.

What departments are already composting?

  • Ballard Hall - Agriculture & Resource Economics
  • CEOAS - College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Cordley Hall - Botany & Plant Pathology
  • Forest Science Research Lab - College of Forestry
  • Gilmore Hall - Bio and Eco Engineering
  • Gladys Valley Center - SMILE program
  • Kerr Admin. Bld. - Graduate Program, Research Office, Office of the Registrar
  • Kidder Hall - Mathematics Graduate Teaching Assistants
  • Property Services Building - Procurement, Contracts, & Materials Management
  • Richardson Hall - College of Forestry
  • Student Experience Center - Student Sustainability Initiative, Center for Civic Engagement
  • Valley Library - Library staff
  • Waldo Hall - Academic Success Center, University Exploratory Studies Program
  • Wilkinson Hall - College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Return to the main Composting in Departments page