Recycling & Composting

Goucher has been working to recycle and compost waste from campus for more than two decades. Efforts that started with teams of students that managed recycling in the residence halls now have grown into campus-wide initiatives that include centralized trash rooms and containers around campus, educational initiatives, and a system to track campus waste.

Mini-bin Waste Collection Pilot Project

In efforts to manage our waste more efficiently Goucher College is piloting a mini-bin waste collection project in Dorsey Center. This program will help us maximize participation in our recycling program, and achieve higher levels of waste diversion. For information about the program please see this FAQ. For a detailed guide on what our waste hauling partner can recycle, please see this guide


All the buildings on campus contain sets of clearly labeled recycling containers for waste, paper, and cans/bottles. Residence hall trash rooms have been painted to easily distinguish between areas for recyclables and landfill trash. For a look at what recyclables go in what containers on campus, check out our recycling chart.  In addition to paper, aluminum, glass, and other common materials, Goucher College also recycles:

Compact fluorescent light bulbs -- A recycling container for CFLs is located in Heubeck Hall in the lobby between the office of Residential Life and Campus Safety.

Fluorescent tubes -- Goucher College uses a device that crushes the tubes and captures the mercury and other gases through a filtration process.

Motor oil -- An outside agency picks up motor oil waste and blends and recycles it.
Tires -- Tires are recycled to make mulch for playgrounds.

Paints/solvents/cleaning agents -- An outside agency picks up these materials and blends and recycles them.

Scrap Metals -- An outside agency picks up the waste metal and recycles it.


Goucher has two composting systems: industrial and student.

With industrial composting Facilities Management Services (FMS) diverts waste from landfills by partnering with a local sustainable waste management company that collects the pre- and post-consumer waste produced in all of Goucher's dining halls. The college earns compost credits, which can be redeemed for seasoned compost that can be used for Goucher's landscaping and gardens. In 2012, Goucher diverted 63.5 tons of food waste from the landfill by converting it to compost.

With student composting, the Campus Agriculture Co-op composts a portion of the waste produced in the dining halls. The student group collects buckets of raw fruit and vegetable scraps weekdays from the kitchen at Mary Fisher Dining Hall, and the waste is taken to the co-op's composting site. Goucher community members can also compost their own food at various collection sites. White plastic buckets found at these locations are for fruit, vegetables, coffee grinds, and yard materials such as leaves, grass, and woodchips. Meats, dairy, and cooked food are not accepted in student composting, however, they are accepted in our industrial compost pickup.

For more information about composting at Goucher, contact