Lunchtime Composting Program at Framklin.
Corvallis is fortunate to have a progressive mixed organics composting program through its waste management company, Republic Services. This means that all mixed organic waste, from grass clippings and leaves in your yard, to vegetable trimmings, meat, dairy and bread products, to pizza boxes and paper towels can be placed in your gray mixed organics cart and turned into high quality compost at the facility near Adair Village. That's right! Chicken bones, stale bread, potato leftovers with sour cream and cheese, pizza boxes with pepperoni and gooey cheese stuck on - all of this is accepted, turned back into soil and then sold to nurseries and individuals looking to return compost back into their gardens!
Franklin School decided to follow in the steps of Garfield Elementary, another school in our district that has implemented cafeteria composting, and with compostable plastic garbage bags provided by the support of the Corvallis School District, started a lunchtime composting program at Franklin in September. All students were given a short lesson on how to compost, what can be composted and what can't (no plastic forks, plastic bags, or waxy milk cartons), and what then becomes of all of our mixed organic waste. Older students were also taught some of the negative consequences of food waste entering our landfills, including methane gases produced and leachate entering our ground water.
Our volunteer compost team is in the cafeteria every school day to work with both the elementary and the middle school students, and throughout the year we have received student support from Mrs. Hawkinson's fifth grade class as well as Student Government. We tally the weight every day and have learned that Franklin School produces about 20 pounds a day in food waste. We tallied the compost total up to the holiday break and upon their return presented the students with a brief slide show demonstrating how their efforts have made a difference. At that point, about 1,500 pounds of compost had been successfully diverted from landfills, which is more than the weight of a blue whale's heart, and about the same weight as a grizzly bear, or four adult reindeer, or 15 toilets! The students were excited to see how their daily efforts had accumulated to make such a big difference, and the adults have felt very gratified over the months to see the sorting become automatic for the students as they consciously ensure their food waste does not go to landfill.
If you are interested in helping with our program or have any questions, please contact Laura Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a program started by the Franklin PTA and we couldn't be making this difference without the help and support of our volunteers, the staff at Franklin, and the support from the district. Thank you!