Breaking the barrier to composting

Founded by Carolina students, CompostMates is making composting accessible to all Tar Heels through free, curbside food scrap collection service.

Composting is one of the easiest ways people can help combat climate change.

And while Carolina has a robust on-campus composting program in its dining halls, for students who live off-campus, the options get expensive.

This led a group of Tar Heels, including Lydia Rowen, Caroline Shubel, Olivia Tseng, Ideliya Khismatova and Daniel Sheyko, to found CompostMates, a Carolina student organization dedicated to expanding access to composting for off-campus students through a free, curbside food scrap collection service.

“CompostMates’ main initiative is to reduce barriers to composting to students in Chapel Hill and Carrboro through free biweekly pickup service,” said Tseng, a senior at Carolina. “We basically have volunteers and team members go around to houses and we pick up food scraps and take them to community gardens for composting.”

Since launching, CompostMates has diverted more than 3,000 pounds of waste from landfills.