University Sustainability

Defining Sustainability since 1899


Appalachian State University has been composting on campus since 1999 and has a lasting commitment to organics recycling. The university’s facility is permitted in the state of North Carolina as a Type III compost facility, which has the ability to accept yard/garden waste; wood waste; pre- and post-consumer food wastes, including meats and dairy; as well as some manure and agricultural waste. This program began as a grassroots approach to food waste collection, and with the help of a Western North Carolina partner — Advanced Composting Technologies from Candler, NC — it has developed into one of the most successful programs in the country.

In addition to the ability to process waste on the Boone campus through a closed loop system, this program has many added benefits with regard to research opportunities, internship potential, and a demonstration for other communities.

If you are interested in participating in this program, you can choose your own compost collection container and maintain and empty your own items into the collection carts located around campus. Old yogurt tubs, empty protein shake containers or tupperware items work well for collection. Items you may include are food waste of any kind, paper products, compostable cups/lids from coffee shops, etc.

All food waste and compostable items are sorted and collected back of house at on-campus dining facilities.

All food waste and compostable items are sorted and collected back of house at on-campus dining facilities.

Where can I compost?

Look for the green bins:

  • Crossroads Coffee Shop - inside Plemmons Student Union
  • Leon Levine Hall - on the loading dock 
  • Poplar Grove Child Development Center - outside the dumpster enclosure
  • Miles Annas Building - inside dumpster enclosure
  • Office of Sustainability - 1st floor of East Hall
  • Beans 2 Brew coffee shop - on 2nd floor of Peacock Hall
  • Reich College of Education – service area near the dumpsters
  • Trivette Plaza - at the door facing Thunder Hill residence hall
  • Wired Scholar coffee shop - inside Belk Library
  • Plemmons Student Union - loading dock
  • North End Zone - dumpster enclosure
  • Garwood Hall - service area next to Rivers Street parking deck
  • Mountain Laurel Hall - near Fermentation Sciences

Use the Interactive Campus Map to find composting locations on the Boone campus. Select university services, then compost locations.

On-campus coffee shop composting guide

App State on-campus coffee shop composting guide

Items accepted for composting:

  • All leftover food
  • Empty Pizza boxes
  • Paper to-go boxes, napkins, paper towels, wax deli paper
  • Coffee filters and coffee grounds
  • Items labeled “compostable,” including on-campus coffee shop cups and lids
  • Tea bags

General composting tips:

  • App State’s industrial composting facility accepts items that some home composting systems cannot, such as meats, dairy and post-consumer plastic.
  • Plastics not labeled “compostable” should NEVER be placed in compost bins.
  • Common contaminants include single-use plastics (cream cheese/jam packets, plastic utensils, etc.).
  • Wooden utensils can be composted, but plastic utensils without the “compostable” label cannot be placed in compost bins.

Specific items accepted for on-campus coffee shop composting:

  • All leftover food (muffins, bagels, etc.) 
  • Muffin wax paper wrappers 
  • Coffee shop cups/lids (iced and hot)
  • Napkins
  • Straws from dining halls/coffee shops 
  • Campus Pepsi cups 
  • Wooden stirrers
  • Sugar packets

Want to test your on-campus composting knowledge?
Take this Composting Questionnaire.

Questions? Contact