UVA’s Office for Sustainability is upping our game on reducing waste on Grounds as we head into the new year. We’ll be increasing the number of compost bins, hosting numerous Zero Waste Trainings with students, staff, and faculty, and organizing awareness campaigns to get everyone involved with our ambitious waste minimization goal.  

We’re kicking off the semester with a pilot project on composting at the Amphitheater, in partnership with UVA Recycling and UVA Landscaping. During the last two weeks of January, you’ll see two composting stations at the Amphitheater to dispose of your food scraps and to-go containers to help divert waste from the highly trafficked lunch spot. You can expect to see the bins through February 1.  

Behind the scene 

A primary concern with publicly accessible composting bins is contamination from non-compostable waste, like that pesky plastic fork or errant beverage can that get tossed in. Our team will take extra measures to ensure that the compost is 100% compost. Each afternoon, the UVA Landscaping team will bring compost bags back to the Facilities Management buildings where students will take the lead on waste audits. This will give us a sense of weights, volumes, and contamination concerns, and will help inform future compost expansion strategies around Grounds.

When we’ve finished sorting the bags, they’ll be shipped off to Black Bear Composting, UVA’s community partner on composting, to begin the decomposing process. After a few months, your compostable to-go container will turn into nutrient-rich soil that’s delivered back to our community for use in the Student Garden and neighboring landscapes. Full circle! 


students sorting compost
Student volunteers (left to right) Rebecca Dollahite, Aayusha Khanal and Julianne Feuchter are raring to help sort through the compostable items at the Amphitheater.

How you can help 

If you frequent the food trucks at the Ampitheater or work in that area, be sure to read the informational signs next to the compost bins to learn which items go where. We can collect any type of food waste as well as compostable to-go containers, cutlery, and cups. Not sure if your item is compostable? We like to use the term “when it doubt, throw it out” to make sure our compost bins stay contaminant-free.  

The Ampitheater pilot program is the beginning of a compost expansion process this spring. We hope to increase publicly accessible composting, residential composting, event composting, and more.  

Email our office if you have questions about waste streams or would like to schedule a Zero Waste Training with your team.  


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