Brandeis Composting


If you live in the following quads, you have composting locations conveniently located right outside your residence hall!

Lower and Upper Mods: next to the trash/recycling toters

Zivwood: in the bushes between Ziv 127 and the traffic gate

Charles River: one by the bus stop, one behind building 111

Massell: vermiculture composting (using earth worms) in the Deroy 2 kitchen

Patchwork Garden (Massell): located between Renfield and Deroy in Massell Quad. The compost is the wire fencing to the side of the beds.


  • Chop or shred large pieces
  • Add equal amounts of food scraps (carbon rich) and shredded paper or leaves (nitrogen rich) 
  • Freeze fruit and vegetable scraps in a Tupperware container until ready to compost to prevent odor
  • Turn/stir compost often

All the quad compost goes to the Patchwork Garden in Massell Quad!

Patchwork Garden bed


Give Back to the Earth

Why is composting important? In a nutshell, ccomposting reduces waste. The EPA estimates that roughly 25% of the garbage in the U.S. is made up of yard trimmings and food scraps.  Composting food and yard scraps puts the nutrients back into the earth and provides rich, nourishing soil for the garden, creating new growth and completing the cycle. Composting is easy and Brandeis offers several composting methods on campus.

  • Home Composting
  • Vermiculture
  • Commercial Composting
  • Yard Waste

Home Composting 

Bins are available outside Charles River, Mods, Ridgewood, Ziv, and Village residences. 

How composting works: 

Mixing compost is like making a recipe. Nitrogen rich matter, such as food scraps or grass, carbon rich matter, such as sticks or leaves, air, and water are the essential ingredients.  Macro organisms, worms and insects, and micro organisms, bacteria and fungus, break down the organic materials into nutrient-dense soil. In other words, nitrogen-rich matter + carbon-rich matter + air + water + macro/micro-organisms = compost. 

What can I compost?

Composting Chart


Vermiculture composting uses worms to break down food scraps into nutrient-dense soil. Advantages include composting at a faster rate with little to no odor and need for an outdoor space. Vermiculture composting is available in Massell residence halls in the Deroy 2 kitchen. Special instructions for vermiculture are posted there. 

Commercial Composting

All waste from the Usdan and Sherman dining halls goes to the WeCare commercial composting facility in Marlborough, MA , which subjects the waste to high heat in order to create compost fertilizer. Materials are sorted, put into a digester, and heated to speed up the composting process. It can also take many more items (such as meat and biodegradable plastics) than a typical home composter. Composted materials may then be sold as mulch or other products.

dirtOur contract allows for a smaller amount of "trash" from Usdan and Sherman to go to this facility- so don't worry that there aren't separate "trash" and "compost" bins in these buildings. We are lucky at Brandeis to have this option as commercial composting facilities are not that common.  The recent growth of "biodegradable" products has lead many people to believe that these products can break down in landfills but unless the products are sent to a commercial composting facility they do not break down.  In addition, since our regular trash is sent to a Waste to Energy facility any biodegradable products would just be burned. 

Students in the Greening the Ivory Tower class visit the facility and you can see pictures of the visit.