Recycling and Composting

One hundred percent of the college's food waste is processed through the St. Olaf-owned composter.
One hundred percent of the college’s food waste is processed through the St. Olaf-owned composter.
  • The college’s recycling program is directly tied to the county’s co-mingled system. Recycling bins are provided for each student room and are present in every office or department on campus. Bins are also provided in high-traffic or high-use areas and for special events.
  • Ninety-five percent of all paper used on campus is made from recycled content, and 90 percent of the paper products used by Bon Appétit, the St. Olaf food service provider, are made from recycled content.
  • St. Olaf’’s food services operation offers a reusable bag for its bag lunch area and provides a discount on the coffee price to students and guests who bring their own cups. Reusable coffee mugs are sold on site to further encourage the practice. A water station is provided at the food pick-up point to encourage students to fill their water containers for free, thereby helping reduce the purchasing of bottled water.
  • All food waste (100 percent) from the college’s food services operation — preparation, production, line, and plate — is collected and composted in an on-campus in-vessel system, which comes to nearly 175 tons annually. Drop-off points and collection systems at all eating venues collect food waste and paper products for processing.
  • One hundred percent of the compost generated is used on college-owned land, including in the landscaping and maintenance of the grounds. Compost is also supplied to the student-run organic farm, closing an important circle on campus.
  • In response to a student idea, all paper napkins are placed on the dining tables (rather than picked up with utensils and trays at the entrance to cafeterias). This ensures that only those napkins actually needed are taken, greatly reducing their consumption. Used paper napkins go into the composter stream.
  • The student-run Take Back the Tap initiative has collaborated with the college and its food-service provider, Bon Appétit, to dramatically reduce the sale and distribution of bottled water on campus.

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