Compost Troubleshooting Problems

Have you tried or considered trying you hand at home composting? We would love to help. Don’t let apparent problems stand between you and recycling your household organic waste. Instead, consider troubleshooting your composting problems with some solutions below.

Symptoms Problem Solutions
Compost has unpleasant odor. Not enough air due to overwatering. Not enough air due to compaction. If odor of ammonia, too much nitrogen. Add dry materials such as cornstalks, leaves, or wood chips to soak up excess water.
Turn the pile to aerate. Cover pile if rains continue. Turn the pile to aerate. Add carbon materials and turn the pile to aerate.
Pile not heating up. Pile is too small. Insufficient moisture. Not enough air. Lack of nitrogen. Compost may be finished. Make pile bigger. Add water while turning. Add water by sticking a garden hose into the center in several locations. Poke holes into the pile and add water using a watering can. Turn the pile to aerate. Mix in nitrogen materials. Add 10-10-10. Use it and start over!!!!
Compost is damp and warm only in the center. Pile is too small. Add more material.
Pile temperature exceeds 160°F. Not enough air. Lack of carbon. Turn the pile to aerate. Mix in carbon materials.
Large, undecomposed items are still in the mix. Low surface area. Remove items. Chop or shred before adding.
Rodents. Presence of meat scraps. Only add items recommended for your pile and remove offensive material. Animal-proof bin.
Compost pile has flies, earwigs, slugs and/or other insects. I find white material throughout my pile. Good! Pile is composting correctly. Insects are a sign of a productive compost pile. The white cobweb material are actinomycete, part of the microbial community. If there is an abundance of flies, bury your food scraps as you turn the pile.

Holiday Light Recycling Collection

November 17th – December 5th

Not sure what to do with your old strands of holiday lights? Starting November 17th through December 5th, we will be accepting light strands for recycling at our public recycling drop off center. Light strands should be placed in the specially marked collection containers located at the drop off site, and we ask visitors to remember packaging, extra bulbs, plastic bags, string reels, and other items should not be placed in these container with the strands.

5 Reasons to Visit MSU Recycling’s Drop Off Center

Whether you are a veteran recycler or new to the concept of sustainability, here are 5 reasons why you should visit MSU Recycling's Drop Off Center:

1. Free Recycling Service

That's right; its free! Our facility provides public recycling drop off services at no cost to visitors. Also, while our first priority is to provide recycling options for the MSU campus community, we do not restrict access to our drop off center, but instead encourage everyone to be "Spartan Green" and recycle.

2. Open 24/7

Don't worry about getting here before we close, because our drop off services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even when we close our main drop off location for temporary servicing, we still provide temporary drop off options across the street.

3. Wide Variety of Items Accepted

Our drop off center houses 13 permanent collection containers, accepting the following materials:
  • 3 Cardboard Containers - where visitors can dispose of any cardboard items they can fit within the container
  • 1 Boxboard Container - where visitors can dispose of any freezer packaging, or other boxboard items
  • 1 Paper Container - where visitors can dispose of all their mixed paper types together
  • 1 Newspaper Container - where visitors can sort out their old newspaper collection for disposal
  • 1 Glass Container - where visitors can dispose of any colored, non-tempered glass
  • 1 Metal Container - where visitors can dispose of clean, non-hazardous metals, such as household tin and aluminum cans
  • 3 Plastic Containers - where visitors can dispose of clean, non-hazardous plastic items #1 - 7; please note that this does not include Polypropylene (Styrofoam), nor should plastic bags or film be disposed of in these containers
  • 2 Plastic Bag Containers - where visitors can dispose of clean plastic bags
  • 1 Milk Jug Container for Cloudy #2 Plastics - where visitors can separate their cloudy #2 plastics, such as milk jugs, for disposal
In addition to the materials we can collect at our drop off center, we are also able to provide limited drop off services for specialty item at our Surplus Store across the street. Items that can be collected at our Surplus Store include:
  • Confidential paper documents for shredding
  • Oversized recyclable items (such as large boxes full of books)
  • Reusable surplus items

4. LEED Certified

Along with providing public recycling options, our drop off center is part of our larger, Gold Level, LEED Certified facility, and contains multiple LEED features, such as:
  • 5 solar powered light poles
  • Rain gardens with native Michigan species
For visitors interested in learning more about our LEED facility, consider scheduling a facility tour.

5. Great Location

Located on the northwest corner of Farm Lane and Green Way, the MSU Recycling Drop Off Center is a bit off the beaten path for most MSU Spartans. However, don't let its distance from central campus keep you from missing all that this delightful resource has to offer. In addition to being located directly across the street form MSU's Surplus Store and Recycling Center, our drop off site is also within walking distance of the following local attractions:
Now that you know what you've been missing, why delay? Plan your visit to MSU Recycling's Drop Off Center today and help support campus recycling efforts. For more information on what items we accept, visit our Disposal Guide, or call or email us at (517)355-1723 or Recycle@msu.edu.

Stay in Touch

Make a Service Request

Service Hotline: 517-355-1723
Fax: 517-353-9038
E-mail: recycle@msu.edu

Overflowing Bins in your Office?

Custodial Services: 517-355-8485
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