Sustainability Spotlight: Composting in the Cafeteria

5th and 6th graders at The Museum School have begun composting lunch waste in the cafeteria. In just the last 3 weeks alone, 5th and 6th graders have diverted 482 pounds of waste from the landfill!  That is about 1/4 lb per student per day.

Nutrition Director, Erin Johnson, has partnered with CompostNow to run the program at The Museum School. Students separate compostable from “landfill” every day at lunch. They can compost meat and dairy as well, because CompostNow uses a commercial composting facility. Students volunteer to monitor the garbage/compost flow to ensure we are doing our best.

Every Saturday, CompostNow takes our compost bins, weighs the compostable waste, and replaces the bins with clean ones. Once per month they tell us how much we diverted from the landfill. Our food scraps are turned into compost, and shared with local urban farms and community gardens, producing more plentiful and nutrient dense produce in our local Atlanta food system – including The Museum School’s Learning Garden.

CompostNow believes that educating the public is the best way for this program to be successful. They will come to TMS to educate us as often as needed, and Mrs. Johnson hopes to soon add 7th and 8th graders to the program. The rest of the grades will follow until every TMS student is separating out compostable lunchroom waste. Imagine the impact our whole school could have – 146 lb per day diverted from landfills!

Be sure to ask a 5th or 6th grade student about the many benefits of composting!

Learn more from our partner, CompostNow

  • Composting is the controlled breakdown of organic material into a nutrient rich soil amendment (think hair conditioner for soil)
  • In a landfill, food waste decomposes in the absence of oxygen and produces methane, which is 25x more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, yet in the US 95% of food scraps are going to the landfill.
  • 40% of eatable food is wasted in the US each year. That’s 60 Billion pounds.
  • Composting also helps with water retention and erosion, which can help with top soils and agriculture as well as natural disasters such as floods. Composting also increases soils carbon storing ability which is the best way to combat climate change.
  • Composting replaces the need for harmful fertilizers and pesticides
  • Instead of creating trash you can create soils!
  • Our members have diverted 5.2 million pounds from landfills and created 2.1 million pounds of nutrient-rich soil

If you are interested in an easy, hassle free way to compost at your home or office, check out the link below to start your free two-week trial!

View the CompostNow presentation about the benefits of composting.

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