Green Retriever: Residential Composting Program

Become a Green Retriever and compost in the Residential Halls!

We are excited to announce, we have partnered with the Student Government Association, Residential Student Association, and UMBC Dining to provide a composting drop off location for residential students. This will allow students living on campus to collect compost in their residence.

Upon signing up, students will receive a 2.6 gallon bucket, compostable bags, and 1 page information sheet on composting for their dorm or apartment for the reminder of the school year. Students will be required to empty their organic waste once a week at the designated location at True Grits or The Commons.

The deadline to apply for the program for Fall 2021 is closed, applications for Spring 2022 will reopen in the beginning of February.

Spot for the Spring semester are limited, if you are interested in joining the program in February please fill out this waitlist form to save your spot! 

Any student living on-campus in the residential halls, apartments, and Walker Avenue Apartments, who is willing to go through proper training to participate in composting.

Step 1: Make sure to talk to your roommate(s) and get their approval to start collecting organic waste in your shared space.

Step 2: If you are a residential student, please fill out this interest form, which includes a small training on composting. Due to limited supplies, only the first 80 students to sign-up and complete the training will be eligible to participate in the program. 

Step 3: Once you have completed and passed the training, you will receive an email with a Compost Program Roommate Agreement. After the agreement is processed you will be sent information on how to pick-up your compost starter kit.

Step 4: Start collecting your organic waste and empty it at least once a week. To empty your compost, take your bin to True Grits or The Commons and place the bag in the green bin.

Step 5: At the end of the school year, respond to the feedback survey and return your bucket to the Office of Sustainability. Before returning your bin, empty all contents, and wipe it clean. Failure to return your compost bin will bar you from participating in the residential composting program in the future.

My bin smells, what should I do?

The food scraps in your compost bin should not smell any worse than if they were placed in a trash can. That being said, if a bin is not emptied often enough it will begin to smell. To get rid of odors, empty your bin and wipe out the inside of the bin to remove any food residue that has accumulated. If you need to rinse the bin out, please do not run food scraps down the drain.

What if I am unsure of what to compost?

You should only be placing food waste and soiled napkins in your compost container. When in doubt, leave it out of your compost bin. One or two items could contaminate a whole compost bin, and lead it to being landfilled. It is better to compost correctly than to contaminate your compost.

Download Dorm Compost Sign

My bin has fruit flies or other pests, what should I do?

Fruit flies (and other pests) are attracted to rotting food, whether it’s in the trash or the compost bin. The key is to empty the bin frequently.

If fruit flies have already found your bin, empty the bin and clean it thoroughly. It is best to discontinue composting until you have removed the flies from your room. To trap the flies, pour apple cider vinegar into a small bowl or cup, then mix in a few drops of dish soap. The flies will land in the vinegar and then drown when they come into contact with the soap. Resume compost collection once the flies have disappeared.

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UMBC competes to recycle the most in MD!


On Campus


February 4, 2013Feb 11, 2013 (All Day Event)


Recyclemania is kicking off just as we're returning to campus! Join us in recycling paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum @ glass! When you sort, UMBC earns! Composting is now available in the...