Cafeteria to Compost

  • Location
    Los Angeles, California
  • Status
  • Age Level
    5 to 7 Years
    8 to 10 Years

The Problem

I am working to implement a Cafeteria to Compost program at an LAUSD Title I elementary school. I hope to demonstrate examples of a closed-loop compost system by connecting our school gardens and cafeterias together. My school has a population of over 500 students who are limited to a 20-minute lunch period followed by a 20-minute recess. I am hoping to effectively educate the student population on how to sort and manage compost so they can be active participants in our composting efforts.

Our Plan

We will do rigorous data collection and weigh the amount of food scraps we collect as well as documenting the temperature of our compost piles to ensure proper compost cooking. Finished compost will prove that our composting efforts were successful however the process of learning, building, and experimenting with this new program will be a success if I am able to instill new life skills to the students.

Themes Addressed

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    Community Enhancement
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    Zero Waste

The Benefit

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Here is how the project went:

We successfully launched our Cafeteria to Compost program, collecting an average of ~200 lbs of food a week, diverting from landfills, and building hot compost piles on campus.

Through this project I/we learned:

Students are very eager to help and can easily change their habits with guidance.

What I/we might change:

The amount of prep work required to implement successful systems.

My/our favorite part of this project was:

Working with students and witnessing their stewardship in action.

Some tips, tricks or fun facts about the project:

Compost collection can be tedious work so having a team to work with helps pass the time. Signage helps students a lot and hot composting is manageable with a dedicated team.

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