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Change starts in the classroom: benefits of composting programs in schools

Food waste is a chronic issue; nearly one-third of our landfills are piled up with scraps of leftover grub from home kitchens and larger producers like restaurants. While not all of this refuse is actually recyclable, diverting the portions that can be transformed into nutrient-rich fertilizer for gardens and lawns, makes a significant difference. And there’s no better time to get the ball rolling than during the early years of a child’s schooling.


When it comes to saving the planet, today’s younger generation is most definitely our future. Schools are the perfect forum for teaching young people the importance of composting organic waste  Lessons on composting allow them to see how  their lunch scraps can have on the landscape. Let’s walk through the ways composting programs can enhance school education, especially in elementary grades.


Schools should utilize resources to get students engaged, such as Team Compost.


There are a multitude of benefits to composting in schools. Cafeterias and lunchrooms produce an abundance of food waste. Educators can turn this into a learning opportunity specific to students and their school. Composting programs seamlessly weave into curricula, since the process of organic material biodegradation is firmly rooted in science. Teachers are often looking for unique ways to engage their students on global and local environmental issues, yet another place composting can come into play.


Just like getting excited about sports in gym class, kids can develop an interest in gardening and landscaping through composting, which are excellent hobbies to continue as they grow older. And with the rise of neighborhood co-op gardens and urban farms, composting can lead to positive involvement in community organizations down the line.


However, composting doesn’t come without challenges. It can be difficult to maintain composting bins and piles, whether they’re indoors or outdoors. For indoor bins in particular, it’s important to take the necessary steps to avoid bad odors that could permeate throughout the school building, including making adequate storage room to stash the compost for eventual use.

Despite the logistical hurdles, composting can be an excellent learning opportunity for students and as a tool to cultivate an environmentally-conscious generation, focused on sustainability and ensuring a healthy future for our planet.