Compost crew

Welcome to the Dana Compost Crew’s composting and zero waste webpage!

Composting is a form of waste disposal where organic waste decomposes naturally under oxygen-rich conditions. Organic material, such as food scraps and yard waste, make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, but a great alternative is composting, which enriches soil and helps plants grow. Producing compost saves space in landfills and lowers carbon footprint by reducing methane emissions. Composting also reduces the need for chemical fertilizers by suppressing plant diseases, reducing pests, and encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.To learn more about composting at home, visit

SEAS is committed to composting as a way to reduce our overall waste output. Everyone is encouraged to compost and we try to make it easy by having providing facilities in the building. Bins can be found in the 1st floor kitchenette, 2nd floor administrative services office, 2nd floor IT room, and 4th floor kitchenette..

University of Michigan’s Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling partners with a composting facility that does not have the capability to sort contaminants from our compost, so it’s important for us to minimize contaminants. Please only put approved items in the compost bin. Read below to learn more about what can and cannot go in the bin.

Compostable Not compostable
Fruit & vegetables Candy/gum
Plate scraps (including meat & bones) Liquids (they can cause the bin liners to break down quicker resulting in leaks and make it difficult for Dana's custodial staff to empty)
Coffee grounds Packaging (i.e. chip bags, gum wrappers, muffin wrappers, sandwich wraps)
Tea bags (with staple is okay) Coffee cups & lids (unless they say "compostable)
Compostable containers & utensils (containers must meet either ASTM D6400 or D6868 standards to qualify as compostable.
To ensure they meet standards, items must have the logo below or the word "COMPOSTABLE" printed on them)
Paper plates (unless they say "compostable)
Napkins Plastic utensils (unless they say "compostable")
Small paper scraps (although all paper is compostable, full sheets of paper have much better residual value if recycled.
The equipment used at recycling centers do not sort the small scraps well and are better to be composted)
  Plastic & aluminum


Not sure if it’s compostable? Email us ( to ask or when in doubt, throw it out!

About Us/History of the Dana Compost Crew

The Dana Composting Crew is a group of students at SEAS that seeks to promote the use of composting and waste reduction in our building.

SEAS students created the Dana Compost Crew with the Dana Building Facilities Manager, Sucila Fernandes, in Fall 2014. The DCC conducted an audit of Dana’s waste and found that over 40% of the waste produced in the Dana building (by weight) could be composted. Over the course of two years, the DCC educated students, staff, and faculty about composting, and rolled out a zero waste initiative with the fruition of the composting initiative. Check out the timeline below for more details!

We are always looking for more members! If you are interested in working on waste reduction and composting initiatives, please email us at


Dana Compost Program Timeline

Fall 2014 Winter 2015 Fall 2015 Winter 2016 Fall 2016

Compost pilot started in Ford Commons kitchenette with locked bin.

First program on campus to utilize only U-M resources

Locked compost bin officially part of Ford Commons' kitchenette.

Training open to all to receive bin key

Pilot of unlocked bins on 1st & 4th floor kitchenettes while monitoring contamination Official unlocked compost bin on 1st floor for all to use
  • Initiative launched for all Dana events to include composting and aim to be Zero Waste
  • Increasing publicity about Dana's compost program and working to expand use


Zero Waste Guide SEAS expects composting to be performed at all food events held in the Dana Building. Read the Zero Waste Guide to learn about how to incorporate composting composting and reduce waste at your event.

Zero-Waste Friendly Catering Spreadsheet View the spreadsheet to see a list of catering companies in and around Ann Arbor that either offer compostable materials upon planners to reduce waste produced at their events.

How to Start Compost Program Primer Read the primer about starting a composting program and learn how we began the Dana Composting Program. We hope this is useful to students, faculty, or staff seeking to launch a similar program in another building location on UM's campus.

Ann Arbor Recycling Guide provides an overview of how you can recycle at home in Ann Arbor, including where to get a bin and what can go in it.

Ann Arbor Composting Guide webpage provides an overview of how you can compost at home in Ann Arbor, including where to get a bin and what can go in it.

Feel free to make suggestions regarding other resources that you would find helpful. If you have questions or want to get involved in the DCC, please