Personal Compost Bins

As part of a project for the Student Sustainability Leadership Program, with the support of Plant Services, Custodial, and RHA, personal compost bins were purchased during April 2021 and distributed to the Kennedy and Coughlin residence halls. These bins are to be a long-term part of residence life and aim to be available in every residence hall on Gonzaga’s campus. This information has been provided by the SSLP project members to help with composting best practices.

feed soil not landfills logo

All the trash in Spokane is incinerated at Waste to Energy Facility. When organic materials are burned or left to sit in a landfill, Methane is released into the atmosphere. 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. Composting your food waste reduces these emissions while promoting 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 the waste you throw into compost bins around GU’s campus and the Spokane area goes to a facility called Barr-tech near Sprague, WA along I90 where it is composted and sold for agricultural, construction and other purposes. Like trash and recycling, Spokane residents can order an additional bin for all their food and yard waste. Gonzaga offers these bins across campus!

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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.

Like trash bags, all residents will be responsible in purchasing their own compost bags. These bags help reduce the odor and make it easier to clean your compost bin, but they are not required to effectively compost. The price for a small roll or box of bags averages around $5. Here are some options of places to purchase bags and alternatives you can use. Make sure that you use bags from any of these trusted brands as these are the only approved compost bags to use in Spokane: Al-Pack, Berry Plastics, Biosak, Bio Bag Compete-Lete, Glad, Bio Turf, Bag to Nature, Natur Bag, BioStar, EcoSafe, and EcoGaurd. You can find more information about what bags are compostable in Spokane and general information about compost here:

**Compost bags are going to be available soon in the Zag Shop - stay up to date on their arrival by following @rethinkwastegonzaga and @zagsgogreen on Instagram.

The following stores carry compost bags:

  • Huckleberry’s Natural Market
  • Natural Grocers
  • Main Market
  • Yoke’s
  • Costco
  • Amazon
  • Safeway
  • Fred Meyer
  • Target
  • Trader Joe’s (their produce bags are compostable)

Paper and plastic bags can also be used to hold your compost – the paper bag can be composted, but if using a plastic bag be sure to dump out the compost and throw away the bag in the trash or reuse it for next time! Plastic bags are not compostable.


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