Personal Compost Bins

Personal compost bins are available in Kennedy Apartments, Coughlin, Madonna, Welch, and Catherine Monica (CM).

Personal compost bins were first brought to campus in April of 2021 with support from the Student Sustainability Leadership Program (SSLP), Plant Services, Custodial, the Office of Sustainability, and the Resident Hall Association (RHA). These bins are to be a long-term part of residence life and aim to be available in every resident hall on campus. The information below has been provided to help with best practices for composting.

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All trash in Spokane is sent to the Waste to Energy Facility, where it is incinerated in a closed environment. During the burning process, energy is captured, and this energy is used to power about 13,000 homes within Spokane.

When organic materials are burned in an open environment or left to sit in a landfill, methane is released into the atmosphere during the decomposition process. The impact of methane gas is 34 times greater than that of Carbon Dioxide over a 100-year period, according to an IPCC Assessment Report. Due to this, composting food waste reduces methane emissions while creating and promoting healthy soils, which contributes to healthier plant growth in agriculture and personal gardens in our area.

Contamination refers to when waste is incorrectly sorted as recycling or compost. Even if only one item is incorrectly sorted, this can lead to the entire bin being sent to the trash to be incinerated.

All compost generated, both on campus and in Spokane, goes to Barr-tech – a local industrial composting facility located near Sprague, WA. Barr-tech will then sell the soil created for agriculture, construction, and other purposes. Spokane residents can order a green yard waste and compost bin for a small additional cost per month.

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  • To eliminate unpleasant odors, be sure to snap the lid shut and use bags to avoid any mess and lingering odors in the bin.
  • All bins can be washed in the dishwasher or cleaned using warm water and dish soap. Give it a good wash every one to two weeks for best results.
  • If your compost is full and you don’t have time to take it out, store it in a fridge or freezer if one is available. Storing in a cold place will help to reduce any smells.
  • Always dispose of your compost when it is full, and it helps to follow the same schedule as trash or recycling by taking it out once a week to avoid overflow.
  • When in doubt, throw it out! If you aren’t positive that something can be composted, throw it in the trash.

If desired, compost bags can be purchased and used to help reduce odors and make it easier to clean your compost bin. Like trash bags, residents are responsible for purchasing their own compost bags.

Compost bags from Naturbag are available in the Zag Shop for $4.99 per roll of 25. You can also purchase compost bags in various stores in Spokane such as:

  • Huckleberry’s Natural Market
  • Main Market Co-op
  • Natural Grocers
  • Fred Meyer
  • Safeway
  • Target

If purchasing bags from other stores, make sure to by trusted and certifiable compostable in Spokane brands such as Al-Pack, Berry Plastics, Biosak, Bio Bag Complete-Lete, Bio Turf, BioStar, Bag to Nature, NaturBag, EcoSafe, and EcoGuard. You may also use paper bags to place your compost in, as paper bags are compostable. You can find more information about what bags are compostable in Spokane, and general composting information here:


Remember that plastic and plastic bags are not compostable!


Access one of our 20 bin locations on campus. Check out the map of bin locations below!