What is Compost?
Compost is the process of decomposing organic matter, such as food waste, soild paper products, and plants to transform into use as a fertilizer and soil amendment.
- Food scraps
- Paper towels & napkins
- Paper plates, takeout boxes & wrappers
- Coffee grounds/filters & tea bags
- “Compostable” labeled utensils & foodware
- Bamboo chopsticks
- Pizza & doughnut boxes
- Waxed cardboard
- Flowers & plants
Rules to keep in mind:
- If you are using a paper or waxy product to eat off of, it belongs in compost.
- If it can rot or decay naturally, it belongs in compost.
- When in doubt, put it in the garbage!
Did you know Composting can…
- Divert waste from the landfill
- Eliminate / reduce the need for chemical fertilizers
- Gradually releases nutrients back into the soil
- Reduce run-off and water pollution
- Accelerate nutrient cycling
- Loosen the soil
- Sustainably improve the soil
Closing the Loop
Choosing to place your compostable items into the compost bin has impact! Compostable organics make up more than 35 percent of the material UCSF disposes of. If compost is simply hauled away as garbage to a landfill, it is fated for anaerobic decomposition (meaning no oxygen present), which produces significant quantities of methane gas, 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
In contrast, composting the same material in a well-managed compost facility is fundamentally an aerobic process, which does not produce methane. According to the Composting Council, if everyone in the United States composted all of their food waste, the impact would be equivalent to removing 7.8 million cars from the road.
In addition to the greenhouse gas benefits, composting at UCSF contributes to a closed-loop system. Once collected from the campus, UCSF’s compost is transformed over a 60-day period at a compost facility in Vacaville, where it is turned into nutrient-rich compost for California vineyards and farms.