Food organics

Turn your food scraps into a nutrient-rich resource by using an organics or compost bin on campus.

Food waste accounts for 17% of our waste at the University as determined by the 2019 Parkville waste audit. There are many ways to divert your food and organic waste from going to landfill and help to reduce the amount of methane produced from rotting food.

Scrape your plate at Union House

Scrape your plate next time you eat at Union House (Parkville campus). After your meal, dispose of unwanted food scraps in the black food organics trays located at every Choose to Reuse drop-off station. Our cleaning team will collect and drop them off into the food waste processor. This service runs as part of the Choose to Reuse Plate Program.

What to put in

  • Any food scraps (including bones and liquids)

What to leave out

Anything that is not food. This includes:

  • Bamboo or wooden cutlery
  • Serviettes or paper
  • Bioplastics
  • Biodegradable packaging including Biopak branded containers

Where do the food scraps go?

Contents of the food organics trays are collected by the Union House cleaning team who deposit materials into a food waste processor. This machines mixes, heats and adds microbes to the food organics for up to a week. The process turns the organic material into soil conditioner which is then taken offsite to be matured and mixed to make nutrient-rich soil.

If you are part of a Green Impact team, you can request training and be given direct access to the food waste processor. For more information, sign up to Green Impact.

Food organics buckets at Union House
Watch the video to learn how the food waste processor reduces the amount of food waste going to landfill at Union House.


Compost bins are available on campus for you to dispose of your food and organic waste. These bins are available at Parkville, Burnley, Shepparton and Werribee. There may already be a compost bin set up in your building. If there is not you can start a composting group in your office and be supported by the University by joining Green Impact.

Compost at the Community Garden

Whether you want to take the scenic route to class or have lunch in some beautiful greenery, the Melbourne University Community Garden (Parkville campus) have compost bins available for you to throw away your food scraps. Make sure to read the signs to ensure you are composting right.

Image of a large canvas sign with instructions on how to compost at the Community Garden
A visual representation of what can and can't go in the System Garden compost bins. The poster is bright with 2D graphics of each item listed in the text next to item.

Compost at the System Garden

The System Garden compost bins are located between Babel building and Biosciences 2, at the System Garden Professors Walk entrance. The compost bins are Sub Pods, in which you can dispose most organic material.

What to put in

  • fruits and vegetables
  • nuts and seeds
  • bread, pasta, cereal and rice
  • loose tea and coffee grounds
  • paper towels

What to leave out

  • meat, fish and bones
  • dairy products
  • liquids
  • tea bags and coffee pods
  • food packaging (compostable and non-compostable)
Watch the video to see steps for adding organic waste to the Sub Pod compost system.

Make sure you follow the instructions when adding your food scraps to ensure we create a nutrient-rich resource.

How to add to the compost bins

  1. Open the brown compost bin lid.
  2. Remove the worm blanket.
  3. Add your food waste.
  4. Add a handful of lawn clippings from the holding bin.
  5. Turn with the soil with the aerator.
  6. Put the worm blanket back in place.
  7. Close the lid.