The Sustainability Academy’s Master Compost and Solid Waste Course is a no-cost 7-week, in-class course that is intended for individuals without prior composting experience. All composting experience levels are welcome, but students without prior composting experience will benefit most from the class. The course is a mixture of lecture and hands-on learning, with an emphasis on interactivity to teach concrete composting skills. You do not have to have a backyard to participate in this course and start composting at home! The class provides students:

  • In-depth knowledge of backyard and vermi (worm) composting
  • An understanding of soil biodiversity and all the benefits of adding compost to your soil
  • An overview of solid waste reduction practices
  • Communication, leadership, and instruction skills you can use to educate others how to compost


We have a travel stipend program available to those for whom traveling to class poses a financial hardship. Translators will be available to students who wish to attend the course, but who do not speak English.

If you need ADA accommodations, please contact us at least five (5) business days prior to the first class you will be attending.

For any other accessibility needs and requests, please contact Avana Andrade at


  • HAVE FUN – Make friends and new connections with a common interest, and join us for Academy volunteer appreciation events!
  • GET INVOLVED – Learn cutting-edge resource conservation techniques and theory from local sustainability experts, and learn what you can do to empower yourself and others to promote these activities.
  • GIVE BACK – Educate your friends, neighbors, kids, teachers, and community on the value of conserving resources!


  • This is an active class – students receive the composting container of their choice (either a worm bin or a backyard composting bin) at the beginning of class, and must be actively building and maintaining their compost system throughout the course.
  • After the completion of the course, we require that you volunteer 40 hours of your time using the skills that you learned in the class to promote sustainability in your communities. Volunteering can be completed with the Office of Sustainability, with a third-party organization, or with a DIY creative project. All volunteering must be completed in San Mateo County within one year of course completion.
  • For those participants that attend and complete at least 5 out of 6 classes, you will each get a “goodie bag” full of fun and useful resource conserving tools that you can use at home and at work, as a congratulatory gift for successfully completing the course!

  • Once you complete both the course and the required volunteer hours, you will receive a certificate of completion as recognition of your commitment to sustainability and your community.
  • You must be 14 years or older to attend the classes.
  • Priority will be given to San Mateo County community members, specifically those who live, work and go to school in San Mateo County.
  • If you need ADA accommodations, please contact us at least five (5) business days prior to the first class you will be attending.


Dates: Tuesday evenings: June 1 (required, 1-hour pre-course meeting), June 22, June 29, July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27, and August 31 (8/31 is a “reunion” class that covers compost harvesting) 
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: Zoom


Register for the class HERE! Registration closes May 24th.

Contact Academy Coordinator Avana Andrade at with questions.