Continuation of Compost Updates & Fall Recap

Posted on January 27th, 2021 by

Wanting to gauge students’ accuracy in sorting their waste, compost, and recycling, Intern Held organized a “sorting party” to gather information through a hands-on experience.

Interns Collin Carlson, Kendra Held, Aviva Meyerhoff, Lily Engebretson, Audrey Ochtrup-DeKeyrel, and student Cloe Korshus wearing PPE, ready to go out and look through compost bins. Photo taken by Brie Wintz.

For a two-week period in November, Interns bundled up in PPE to sort through the recently placed yellow compost kirbies outside residents’ halls to identify if students were composting and recycling correctly.

Below are a few takeaways Interns noticed. This is not an all-encompassing list, but a good start to check your knowledge on waste sorting.


  • Recycling at Gustavus is commingled which means that paper, glass, hard plastics, and metal can all be recycled in one place
  • We can recycle hard plastics #1-7
  • Recycling needs to be clean. No food residue can be on recycling, or it is deemed contaminated
    • Gauge how much residue is in a plastic container. If more water is needed to clean the recycled product than the water used to create it, it is better to throw the product in the trash.
  • Plastic bottles need to be completely empty before being put into the recycling. 
  • Plastic bags that contain recycling cannot be recycled. Make sure to empty recycling contents into a reciprocal, then put the plastic bag in the trash or reuse it.
    • One way to avoid this step would be to either not put plastic bags into the recycling bin or put a brown paper bag into the bin to be reused and/or recycled.


  • Caf to-go containers (ClamShells) are compostable. 
    • However, these take up space, so they can be squished down with your hand or feet to flatten them. 
  • All caf cups and containers from the STEAMry, Courtyard Caf, and Caf are compostable. 
    • Soda cups, clear Courtyard cups, and hot drink cups are also compostable.
  • Brown napkins, sauce cups, as well as non-metal silverware are compostable
  • All food products are compostable with our commercial composter


Keep an eye out for the NEW ‘Waste Station’ signs created by Carlson and Ochtrup-DeKeyrel. These will be placed on yellow compost kirbies outside residence halls and placed inside academic buildings at the ‘Waste Stations’ which include recycling, waste, and compost!

Look for these ‘Waste Station’ signs all across campus come Spring 2021!

Have any questions regarding sorting your waste? Send Interns an email to for us to help answer any questions you may have!


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