Friday, August 3, 2018

Three Ways to Compost at Schools


Guest Blogger Cher Mohring

Thinking of composting at school? Well you have options:  

1. Compost Onsite
Onsite outdoor composting is probably the easiest and least expensive option. Now when I say “easy”, I don’t mean totally maintenance free. You will need to turn the compost, make sure you have a good balance of carbon and nitrogen rich material, monitor for moisture, and most importantly teach your students and staff what should (plant based material) and should not (animal products and oily food) be composted. 

My advice to any school wanting to compost onsite is to think of it as a teaching tool and not a waste reduction activity. Start small by just collecting fruit and vegetable scraps from one grade; or garden trimmings, leaves and coffee grounds. You can always increase collection if everything is going fantastic. Check with your local government on zoning restrictions, keep it away from streams and storm drains, and make sure it does not exceed 300 square feet.

Compost Kids Field Trip at the Civic Garden Center

2. Vermicomposting (with worms!)
Vermicomposting uses special worms in a container to compost fruit and vegetable scraps. Some of the advantages are that you can actively compost year round, vermicompost is superior to just about any other compost, you can use the vermicomposting system for all kinds of experiments, and you have enough class pets for each student to name one (good luck telling them apart). Some challenges are that you need to buy worms to get started, you need to separate the finished compost from the worms when you harvest, the finished compost should be used inside, and if not managed properly you could get fruit flies.

Learning about worms is fun


3. Offsite Composting
Having organics hauled away to a commercial composting facility diverts the most material from the landfill because you are not limited by space and you can usually include animal products (meat and dairy). Before you get too excited, I feel obligated to tell you that there are limited commercial composting facilities in Southwest Ohio right now, so it will likely cost you more to have the material hauled away for composting than landfilling it.   

Whatever option you choose, be sure to educate your students about composting. If your school is in Hamilton County, Ohio, consider one of our classroom program or Compost Kid’s field trips.

We Are Here to Help
Before you get started, check out our Composting at School web page . Email or call (513-946-7737) Cher Mohring for important information about local regulations and assistance starting composting at your school.


Compost Science

1 comment:

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