All Schools Need Compost Systems

I’m in the process of applying for a grant so that my son’s high school will have the funds to build a compost system at their school. While it was always my plan to get one into the school it was actually my son who initiated the discussion. It was a proud parent moment to see him frown and think about throwing away the garden waste we are currently removing and announce we need a compost. But it’s not just this school that needs a compost. ALL schools (pre, primary and high) need a compost. A nice big compost. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Reduce green house gas emissions – throwing organic waste into the general rubbish stream results in higher green house gas emissions. This is because when organic matter decomposes in landfill it decomposes anaerobically (without air) which releases methane gas. Methane is a potent green house gas and landfill is a significant contributor to its release into the environment. Composting allows this waste to decompose with air (aerobically) which reduces the amount of methane entering our atmosphere.
  • Turn Waste into Resource – the compost produced can be used in school grounds or passed on to people within the school community. Traditionally made compost is one of the best ways to get nutrients into soil and making it yourself reduces the need to buy it wrapped in plastic. Also soil that is rich in organic matter holds more water and traps carbon.
  • Community Composting is Cool – Not everyone likes composting at home so community composting is a good way to capture those that want to compost but don’t want to do it in their own back yard.
  • Compost is a Teaching Tool – The compost area is a great place to talk about a whole range of subjects from the science of global warming to the maths of temperature and cubic measurement to literacy of making ‘how to’ signs. I like to use the compost as a vehicle for anti littering discussions (no plastic does not break down in a compost – how did it get in there? what should we do with rubbish when we see it on the ground, even if it isn’t ours?), not to mention the inspection of insects and other creepy crawlies we find in there.
  • Compost is a way to connect with Local Business – school composts are a great way to get to know your local businesses, particularly the ones that produce organic waste. There’s nothing like a bucket or two of coffee grounds to heat up a compost and most cafes are more than happy to separate out their waste grounds for collection.

If your school doesn’t have a compost and you think it might like one, start the conversation. Or ask me how to get one going. There are also plenty of grants around to help you get started, like this one!

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