University of Wisconsin–Madison


Composting signs

Pre- and post-consumer food waste collected on campus is taken to the West Madison Agricultural Research Station for composting. Food waste is collected from the university dining centers and unions. Compost collection sites are located in some additional locations across campus (see map below).

The project is a partnership between the Office of Sustainability, Facilities Planning & Management, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the Wisconsin Union, and University Housing.

The majority of the resulting compost is used for research programs at the agricultural research station. The rest is sold to bulk buyers and the funds are used to support the equipment needed to collect and process the waste.

Click and zoom through our custom Google Map to find compost locations on the UW-Madison campus.

The different icons on the map represent public sites, dining facilities, and residence halls. All are locations with compost bins.

Click the button in the upper left corner of the map (next to “UW-Madison Composting Locations”) to view the key for the different types of compost sites.

Note: locations subject to change. If you have trouble locating a bin, please contact us.

Keep the compost clean!

The windrow method of composting that is used at West Madison Agricultural Research Station cannot accept plastics, with the exception of corn-based plastic lookalikes (biodegradable/compostable items should be clearly labeled; please check carefully). Plastics are a huge contamination problem and can lead to compostable material being sent to the landfill. Help us keep plastic out of the compost!


  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Breads, grains, and pasta
  • Meat and small bones
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Egg shells
  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Wooden chopsticks
  • Corn-based plastic lookalike silverware and food containers (check labeling on items)


  • Plastic bags, plastic film, and food wrappers
  • Plastic utensils, cups, or containers
  • Plastic-coated cups, plates, or take-out boxes
  • Styrofoam
  • Other non-food items
  • Metal silverware and ceramic dishware
  • Fats, oils, and/or greases in large quantities