As of February 2011 there are now compost bins available in every dorm, academic, and administrative building on the Harvard Law School (HLS) campus. The expansion is a result of a partnership between the HLS Green Team, Green Living Program, and FMO custodians that will make compost drop-off points more accessible members of the HLS community who live and work in our dorms and buildings.

University-wide about 25% of our waste is organic compostable material, and HLS waste audits have shown up to 40% compostable waste in dorm trash. The HLS Green Team and Green Living Representatives identified this as an opportunity to expand the accessibility of compost bins throughout campus. They first conducted a composting pilot program in a few offices and dorms around campus, and based on this program’s success they have installed one bin in every building. Since avoiding compost contamination is very important, HLS has developed a network of knowledgeable volunteer “Building Compost Captains” to help spread the word and best practices with the community. The Building Compost Captains provide information about composting to their neighbors in each building, field questions, and monitor bins to provide feedback and suggest improvements.

HLS’ organic waste is taken to Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, Mass., where it is turned into a valuable soil amendment that adds nutrients, aids absorption and filtration, and reduces the need for chemicals and pesticides. Other environmental benefits of diverting our organic materials to compost instead of sending them to landfills include reduced greenhouse gas emissions associated with decomposition and extended landfill life.

The expanded building composting program supplements composting already happening on the HLS campus at events and through all Restaurant Associates’ food services.

Bin locations, Building Captain contact information, and more information about composting can be found on the HLS sustainability website.

Learn more by downloading the HLS Composting Fact Sheet.