Recycling and Composting on Campus

At Luther we take our commitments to waste reduction seriously. We do what we can to reduce and reuse before making our way to the third “r” (recycling). Centralized waste infrastructure is located all across campus to make it easy to responsibly dispose of waste.

If you’re wondering how to recycle and compost on campus, the Center for Sustainable Communities is here to help!

Luther’s Waste Infrastructure

  • Personal Blue Bins: Every office and residence hall room on campus is equipped with a blue bin for ease of collecting recyclable items. Custodial staff will empty and sort recyclables from offices. Students are responsible for taking recycling from their rooms to the roll-off bins located outside of each residence hall.
  • Four Compartment Bins: Four-stream bins are centrally located in all major buildings on campus. The four compartments – compost, landfill, plastic/metal, and paper – contained in these bins are intended to capture the majority of items used every day on campus.
  • Recycling Roll-Offs: Large recycling roll-offs are located next to every residence hall, the Union, Facilities and the Regents Center. These serve as drop off points for paper, cardboard and plastic/metal recycling recycling generated across campus. Materials are taken to the Winneshiek County Recycling Center.

Common Campus Recycling Streams

  • Paper
    • Accepted: Newspapers, magazines, catalogs, office paper, egg cartons, shopping receipts, craft paper, mail, books and shredded paper. Please deliver hard cover books to the bins in the basement of Olin Hall or directly out to the recycling center as they need to be processed separately from all other forms of paper.
  • Plastics and Metals
    • Accepted Plastics: Items stamped with #1 or #2 such as milk jugs, soap bottles, butter tubs, yogurt cups, buckets, pop and water bottles.
    • Accepted Metals: Tin cans, pop and other aluminum cans, and aluminum foil.
    • Not Accepted Plastics: Styrofoam, plastic bags, toys, vinyl siding, PVC pipe, plastic feed sacks, films, rubber, carpet, foam, silage bags, Tyvek, field tile, or motor oil bottles.
    • Not Accepted Metals: Nails, screws, microwaves, TVs, computers, electronics, or major appliances.
    • *Note: Metal items including frying pans, cookie sheets, license plates, stainless steel kitchen items, cast iron skillets, brass items, bikes, electrical cords, electric motors, and wall chargers can be brought to the Winneshiek County recycling center in Freeport, but cannot be recycled in Luther roll-offs.
  • Cardboard
    • Accepted: Basic corrugated boxes or sheets, cereal boxes, pizza boxes (please remove pizza first!), shoe boxes, brown paper bags, or similar containers. Please remove all styrofoam, plastic bags, and any other packaging. Staples, tape and labels are OK to leave on.
    • Not Accepted: Milk or juice cartons, plastic or wax-coated boxes, or any cardboard contaminated with oil.

Glass is not collected at Luther but clear, non-redeemable food container glass is collected at the Winneshiek County Recycling Center in Freeport. Redeemable glass items can be redeemed at Walmart.*

Campus Compost and Food Waste

Food waste is one of the most important things to divert from the landfill so Luther provides abundant opportunities for composting. Please note that compost collection ceases during all major breaks and summer. Keep an eye out for compost bins in the following locations:

  • Academic Buildings: Compost is collected as part of the four-stream bins located all across campus. Many faculty and staff use a personal composting bin in their office and then empty into a common bin.
  • Dining Services: Compost is collected in all major dining locations. In the cafeteria, food scraps should be left on your plate so they can be run through the pulper in the dish room.
  • Res Halls: Compost buckets are generally located in the kitchen. For ease of collecting your own personal compost, use a yogurt container or something else with a lid. Containers are available in the Valders 374 office suite. White 10 gallon compost bins are in the following locations:
    • Miller and Dieseth Halls: Ground floor kitchens
    • Baker Village: Located in each kitchen unit
    • College Apartments: Near blue recycling cans
    • Sustainability House: Outside kitchen door
    • Prairie House (Spring): Through the back door on the back porch
    • Prairie House (Rock): Down the driveway in front of the garage
    • Prairie House (Jefferson): Back porch
    • Brandt Hall: Social lounge kitchen
    • Larsen Hall: Ground floor kitchen
    • Olson Hall: First floor kitchen
    • Farwell Hall: Next to the recycling station on the first floor
    • Ylvisaker Hall: Basement kitchen

Wondering what you can compost?

Accepted: All food scraps including fruit and vegetable scraps, grains, meat scraps, eggs, cheese, tea bags, coffee grounds and filters, paper napkins, brown paper towels.

Not Accepted: Coffee cups, “compostable” containers, wax paper, plastic silverware, chewing gum. Note: To-go containers, plates, and coffee cups that say “compostable” on them are not compatible with current composting operations at Luther.

Additional Recycling Streams

  • Cell Phones and Rechargeable Batteries: The Winneshiek County Solid Waste Agency will not accept rechargeable batteries and cellular telephones in the Winneshiek County Sanitary Landfill. Rechargeable batteries and cell phones are accepted for recycling at Winneshiek County Recycling, 2510 172nd Avenue, Decorah (Freeport Industrial Park).
    • Not Accepted: Alkaline batteries go into the trash.
  • Computers and Electronics: Call the Technology Help Desk to recycle or reuse Luther-owned computers and other electronic equipment that you no longer need.
  • Printer Cartridges: Printer cartridges can be recycled in the Document Center.
  • Books: The Library Circulation Desk collects books that are then reused, resold or recycled. Many books are sold at the annual library book sale. Hardcover and softcover book recycling is also available in the basement of Olin.
  • Office Supplies: Notebooks, folders, binders, staplers, file organizers, pens, pencils, markers, clipboards and any other office supplies you no longer want/need can be brought to the Office Supply Reuse Closet in Valders 364.
  • Household Items and Clothes: Cleaning out your closets? Consider donating to the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Support’s on-campus clothing closet, or to the Depot Outlet. On campus donations can be brought to Union 113. The Depot is located in Decorah and is a great community organization worth supporting with your donations. Before buying new, check to see if they might have what you need!