Composting is the process where organic waste is broken down by micro-organisms, decomposed to produce rich soil-like product called humus. Humus has many applications that can contribute significantly to soil texture and fertility, beneficial for horticultural and agricultural processes.


  • Divert organic waste from landfill.
  • Pilot two different composting systems to determine best application
  • Make recommendations for expansion and further diversion.


McMaster’s backyard-style composting program is led by Geography and Environmental Studies student
intern, Julia Shulist, with support from OPIRG, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, Facility Services,
Hospitality Services, and the Office of Sustainability.
McMaster’s third-party composting program is facilitated by McMaster’s Facility Services, Hospitality Services, and
Office of Sustainability. The organic material is collected Planet Earth and composted by Walker Environmental Group.

Where does McMaster's composting go?

All organic material is taken away daily by composting hauler, Planet Earth, to the Walker Environmental Group Compost facility in Thorold, Ontario. The end product of high quality soil blends, compost, and mulches are used by the agricultural and landscaping industries.

Related Links:

Composting Council of Canada

City of Hamilton Green Cart Composting









April 19, 2017

Ready to start composting in your office?

Championing organics waste disposal in an office area is a great way to promote sustainability and engage students and staff in an initiative to decrease waste production.

To start, you must identify at least one champion to lead this initiative in your area, which will involve communication with other student and staff members in the office as well as emptying the green bin on a frequent basis. Communicating and obtaining feedback and support from all students and staff in the office is important to effectively facilitate the program. In addition, the champion must identify the closest composting bin for which to deposit composting material. Providing educational and support material to staff and students will also support an effective and successful program.

The Office of Sustainability has developed template emails to help champions communicate the program within their departements. Please feel free to use them.

For more information about how to champion this initiative in your area, including request for educational material please contact the Office of Sustainability at Please contact Facility Services at to request a compost bin and bin liners.

Program Updates

McMaster has successfully expanded its composting program beyond Mary E. Keyes to include all of the following areas:

  • McMaster Students Union

    Composting of all food scraps in the MSU office kitchen.

  • Mary E. Keyes

    Composting of all food scraps and other organic material from Mary E. Keyes kitchen and dining area.

  • Bridges Café

    Composting of all food scraps and other organic material from Bridges' kitchen.

  • Twelve Eighty

    Composting of all food scraps and other organic material from Twelve Eighty's kitchen and dining area.

  • Union Market

    Composting of food scraps and organic material such as coffee grinds, sugar packets, wooden stir sticks, coffee cups and bagel crumbs.

  • La Piazza

    Composting of food scraps and other organic material from the main La Piazza kitchen area.

  • Phoenix

    Composting of all food scraps and other organic material from the Phoenix kitchen and dining area.

  • Communications Research Laboratory

    Composting of food scraps from staff kitchen areas and paper towels from selected washrooms.


    List of Acceptable Items:

    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Meat, including bones
    • Dairy
    • Soup and sauce
    • Bread products
    • Coffee grounds and filters
    • Waxed paper
    • Cooking Fat
    • Paper plates
    • Napkins
    • Paper towel
    • Milk cartons
    • Paper coffee cups
    • Wooden Skewers
    • Popcorn Bags


    Items that do not go in:

    • All plastics
    • Saran wrap
    • Styrofoam
    • Metal
    • Glass
    • Floor Sweepings