Story of Composting at SF State

Photo of a kitchen worker putting lime peels in a compost bin

SF State started collecting compost in the 1980s. The student-run Recycling Resource Center was given a grant by the City of San Francisco Department of the Environment to purchase an aerobic digester. The latest phase of composting started as an project in 2006 at Cesar Chavez Student Center (CCSC). There were initially three phases:

  • Composting in the kitchens at the restaurants
  • Composting Pilot Station for student education
  • Converting all dinnerware to compostable plastic, such as utensils and to-go containers

CCSC is currently expanding the program and researching affordable options for vendors to purchase compostables. Housing worked with City Eats and Facilities worked with the Vista Room in Burk Hall to add compost collection to their kitchens. Now composting, recycling and trash bins are found all over campus. Our current goal is to divert all recyclable and compostable material away from landfill, which would reduce waste by 71%. Compost is collected by Recology and is processed at Jepson Prairie.

Composting helps our soil and environment by:

  • RETURNS nutrients to local farms and vineyards
  • DIVERTS up to 36% of waste from Landfill [1]
  • REDUCES Greenhouse Gas Emissions [2]
  • SAVES valuable land space
  • CLEANS contaminated soil [2]
  • DECREASES the need for toxic fertilizers and pesticides [2]

Photo of a leaf decomposing on top of grass

How to Compost on Campus

  • All of the Yard and Green Waste that is compiled by the Grounds Staff is composted in a collection site near the Parking Garage. For large pickups, or special arrangements, contact Work Control at 415-338-1568.

Photo of a Greenware brand compostable cup containing iced tea

  • All foods — meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy
  • Food-soiled paper products - paper plates, paper trays, coffee cups (no lids), napkins, and paper towels 
  • Wooden coffee stirrers and chopsticks.
  • Compostable Plastic - look for plastic cups and other products with green label. These are not your typical plasticware made from petroluem. Theses are cups made from 100% plant material so they are completely compostable.
Be sure to remove the plastic lids and straws from your coffee and soda cups and place plastics in the blue recycle bin.