Composting efforts at the university dispose of campus waste more sustainably than traditional waste management systems. The university composts over 120,000 pounds of material, which prevents 100 metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. 


Watch Video: Composting at Northern Arizona University

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Campus composting partners

  • Campus Dining separates and collects pre-consumer food materials in back-house operations.
  • Velo Composting uses bicycles and trailers to provide a fun, engaging, and highly-visible transport mechanism for some of the compost on campus.
  • Facility Services works with student compost technicians to provide equipment expertise at the composting site. Compost technicians transport the majority of compost material to the composting site.
  • SSLUG (Students for Sustainable Living and Urban Gardening) maintains a compost demonstration site on South Campus, with a variety of home-scale compost bins. 


Campus composting organizational chart

View the composting organizational chart

Composting organizational chart

Stage 1: Collection

First, the Northern Arizona University Composting Coordinator plans for the collection of un-consumed food from the following locations:

  • Campus Dining (pre-consumer food)
  • Flagstaff Medical Center (pre-consumer food)
  • Mother Road Brewery (pre-consumer grains)

Stage 2: Transportation

Next, food from Northern Arizona University Campus Dining is collected by a system called Velo Composting, meaning the compost is transported by bicycle.

This waste is then handed over to the Composting Technicians. Flagstaff Medical Center and Mother Road Brewery bring waste directly to the Composting Technicians.

Stage 3: Transportation

Campus landscaping waste and Fort Tuthill manure (Bleaker Boxes) transport waste to the composting facility without the help of Composting Technicians.

Stage 4: Composting

All of the waste is brought to the composting facility at Howard’s Mesa, where Howard, the Grounds employee, uses a water truck and loader to start the composting process. 

Stage 5: Distribution

Finally, the compost is distributed to:

  • the Sustainable Urban and Living Garden
  • NAU Campus Gardens
  • Flagstaff school gardens
  • Flagstaff community gardens