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Your Compost Isn’t Compostable
By Christina Mehr, Ruby Cayenne, Zack Baker, Hank Wickland
Different types of waste (non compostable)
Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) can help us
understand Universal Waste!
“Universal wastes are hazardous wastes that were determined to pose a lower
immediate risk to people and the environment compared to other hazardous wastes,”
according to the HWMA website.
These are things like batteries, hard plastics, glass and synthetic materials that don't
break down. They sometimes end up sorted into the wrong recycling or waste group.
Solid Waste
Things like garbage, fish and meat, fatty foods, dairy and grease.
Refuse/Recycling Student Assistant Interview:
What have you noticed about compost here on campus?
“There’s a lot of it… and a lot it is contaminated with plastic and other bits of trash. Also… with “compostable”
packaging that is not actually able to be compostabed due to the wax lining they have… and due to a lack of
time and other resources, we don’t have many options other than to just throw it away.”
What percentage of compost would you say is contaminated and has to be thrown away?
“Well besides from the food waste that is created by the J and The Depot for example, which doesn’t generally
have a substantial amount of contaminants. Everything else… for the green topped bins around campus,
probably 90% of it has to be thrown out.”
What would a solution look like for minimizing the amount of contaminated compost on campus?
One would be… just educating students better on what can be composted and acknowledging that the
“compostable” containers that are given out by food places on campus are not actually compostable. Really…
the best thing you should be composting is just food scraps. If you can empty out the food into the compost and
recycle the containers, that’s really the best way to do it. But yeah, better education and better labels on the cans
of what can or cannot be composted would really make the difference… also if the university could switch to
using compostable containers that don’t have this wax lining which makes them unable to be composted… at
least with the bio-bin we have, that would really make the difference.
Pictures of a compost bin on campus:
Bin Outside Of Harry Griffith Hall
Jamie Robbins - Environmental Programs Aid with the City of Arcata
Where does the compostable waste that the city collects go?
Compost collected by the city goes to the city run farm called Bayside Park Farms. They have earth tubs there which are huge
vessels to compost waste they collect from various city facilities.
What does the compost get used for?
The compost made at Bayside Park Farms stays there and is used in the farm. Volunteers can sign up to help out at the farm
to receive fresh vegetables and hands on experience in organic farming in return.
What other efforts does the city make to compost frequently?
“We also work with two independent compost contractor, full cycle compost and then the local worm guy,” Robbins said.
“So, really trying to work with our local composters and try to like spread the wealth and really just kind of have everyone
work together.” These two local entities often provide composting at events supported or held by the city.
What resources does the city have for you?
The city has large compost bins that are available at a discounted price of $35 that city of Arcata residents with proof of
residency can purchase at City Hall or Humboldt Waste Management Authority. “It’s a really great way to kind of get
people introduced to composting in their own back yard whether it’s just for their little garden or they just don’t want to be
throwing away their food waste,” Robbins said.
Waste Reduction and Resources Awareness Program (WRAAP)
Compost Squad turns our campuses food scraps into compost.
Compost pickup can also be scheduled with them at wrrap@humboldt.edu
Arcata Community Garden
Garden plot rentals available! (a way to use your
compost to grow some plants)
From Kitchen Trash to Garden Soil
● Collect compostable items from kitchen in small container
that can be kept indoors
● Designate outdoor bin for keeping larger amount of compost
● Start your pile from the bottom up
● Add nitrogen rich materials then brown items on top of it in a
repetitive pattern
● When the compost is ready to use in your garden apply a thin
layer of compost on the top of soil
Beginners Guide to composting- Biome
Lawn Love Sinziana Spiridon
Beginners Guide to Composting

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Your Compost Is Not Compostable -- Tips on What Best Rots

  • 1. Your Compost Isn’t Compostable By Christina Mehr, Ruby Cayenne, Zack Baker, Hank Wickland
  • 2.
  • 3. Different types of waste (non compostable) Humboldt Waste Management Authority (HWMA) can help us understand Universal Waste! “Universal wastes are hazardous wastes that were determined to pose a lower immediate risk to people and the environment compared to other hazardous wastes,” according to the HWMA website. These are things like batteries, hard plastics, glass and synthetic materials that don't break down. They sometimes end up sorted into the wrong recycling or waste group. Solid Waste Things like garbage, fish and meat, fatty foods, dairy and grease.
  • 4. Refuse/Recycling Student Assistant Interview: What have you noticed about compost here on campus? “There’s a lot of it… and a lot it is contaminated with plastic and other bits of trash. Also… with “compostable” packaging that is not actually able to be compostabed due to the wax lining they have… and due to a lack of time and other resources, we don’t have many options other than to just throw it away.” What percentage of compost would you say is contaminated and has to be thrown away? “Well besides from the food waste that is created by the J and The Depot for example, which doesn’t generally have a substantial amount of contaminants. Everything else… for the green topped bins around campus, probably 90% of it has to be thrown out.” What would a solution look like for minimizing the amount of contaminated compost on campus? One would be… just educating students better on what can be composted and acknowledging that the “compostable” containers that are given out by food places on campus are not actually compostable. Really… the best thing you should be composting is just food scraps. If you can empty out the food into the compost and recycle the containers, that’s really the best way to do it. But yeah, better education and better labels on the cans of what can or cannot be composted would really make the difference… also if the university could switch to using compostable containers that don’t have this wax lining which makes them unable to be composted… at least with the bio-bin we have, that would really make the difference.
  • 5. Pictures of a compost bin on campus: Bin Outside Of Harry Griffith Hall
  • 6. Jamie Robbins - Environmental Programs Aid with the City of Arcata Where does the compostable waste that the city collects go? Compost collected by the city goes to the city run farm called Bayside Park Farms. They have earth tubs there which are huge vessels to compost waste they collect from various city facilities. What does the compost get used for? The compost made at Bayside Park Farms stays there and is used in the farm. Volunteers can sign up to help out at the farm to receive fresh vegetables and hands on experience in organic farming in return. What other efforts does the city make to compost frequently? “We also work with two independent compost contractor, full cycle compost and then the local worm guy,” Robbins said. “So, really trying to work with our local composters and try to like spread the wealth and really just kind of have everyone work together.” These two local entities often provide composting at events supported or held by the city. What resources does the city have for you? The city has large compost bins that are available at a discounted price of $35 that city of Arcata residents with proof of residency can purchase at City Hall or Humboldt Waste Management Authority. “It’s a really great way to kind of get people introduced to composting in their own back yard whether it’s just for their little garden or they just don’t want to be throwing away their food waste,” Robbins said.
  • 7. Waste Reduction and Resources Awareness Program (WRAAP) Compost Squad turns our campuses food scraps into compost. Compost pickup can also be scheduled with them at wrrap@humboldt.edu Arcata Community Garden Garden plot rentals available! (a way to use your compost to grow some plants)
  • 8. From Kitchen Trash to Garden Soil ● Collect compostable items from kitchen in small container that can be kept indoors ● Designate outdoor bin for keeping larger amount of compost ● Start your pile from the bottom up ● Add nitrogen rich materials then brown items on top of it in a repetitive pattern ● When the compost is ready to use in your garden apply a thin layer of compost on the top of soil Beginners Guide to composting- Biome Lawn Love Sinziana Spiridon Beginners Guide to Composting