Over the summer of 2022, I learned of an ordinance in Rhode Island that would mandate composting in schools starting on January 1st, 2023. I wanted our school to follow this mandate so I began to research ways to integrate composting into our school. By the time that school began again, a couple other students and I proposed this idea to our principal and began to work with our Environmental club to see it executed by January.
Originally, we wanted to have a composting organizer in our school cafeteria with dividers, however, this plan needed to be altered to meet the requests of the administration. We had altered our plan so that, rather than having organized dividers, we started off small with only a few bins scattered around the cafeteria. While it may have taken a lot of time to get to the point where we could actually implement composting in the school cafeteria, the execution provided its own challenges.
Since high school students are known to have difficulty with new instructions, we were worried that without dividers they wouldn’t compost at all. To make this work, we realized that we would need to advertise and monitor composting. We created a system of monitoring the composting bins. For the past 6 months, we have been able to get about half a 5 gallon bucket of compost each day (around 300 gallons). All of the food scraps we get from our cafeteria goes to a local farm where it will be used in their fields. While we had been advocating for a composting system for almost a year, we have still yet to meet our goals. Although our school district has said that in the 2023-2024 school year that they would implement our original compost dividers plan, we know that our work isn’t over.
While the process has been difficult at times, its importance to our community has made it worthwhile.
Posted By Emma Pautz
Posted Jun 27th, 2023