If you’ve been in the cafeteria within the past week, you might have noticed that there are now three bins by the doorway: a black bin, a blue bin, and a green bin. The black bin is a trash can, the blue bin is a recycling bin, and the green bin is a compost bin. I know what you’re thinking –why should I care? What does this have to do with me? I’ll answer your questions through this blog entry.
The most important question is “What is composting?” When asked this question, Mr. Sean Arnold, one of our chefs, said, “Composting is taking plant and food based items ( i.e. vegetables, fruit, protein, starch, solid fat, and plant based paper products, wood, and leaves) that can be broken down using time, temperature, air (turning mixture) and moisture (not too much or too little), with a good mixture of the plant and food based items. After these items have broken down, then they can be used as fertilizer for gardens, crops, and lawns instead of chemical fertilizers that can be harmful to humans and animals.” In shorter words, you can put your leftover food in the green bin and it will become fertilizer!
Another important question, “What is important about composting?” A seventh grader, Sidney Butler, thinks that composting is important because it is economically friendly – since you are making your own fertilizer, you don’t have to pay as much. Mr. Sean Arnold thinks that composting is important because it’s the other half of consuming, which we do all too much. He wants to leave the world in better shape than he came into it. As you can see, composting is very important.
Although sometimes composting may be hard and too much work (why not just throw away all your things together?), it will become second nature if you do it enough. However, every contribution counts (except for plates, which under no circumstances should be put in the compost bin) and it all helps the eco-system. Next time you eat your food in the cafeteria, remember the green bin!
Read the whole interview with Mr. Sean Arnold below:
Q: How would you explain composting?
Composting is taking plant and food based items,( i.e. vegetables, fruit, protein, starch, solid fat, and plant based paper products, wood, leaves), that can be broken down using time, temperature, air (turning mixture) and moisture (not too much or too little), with a good mixture of the plant and food based items. After these items have broken down, then they can be used as fertilizer for gardens, crops, and lawns instead of chemical fertilizers that can be harmful to humans and animals.
Q: Do you think that Middle Schoolers are composting responsibly?
I can not say that one group of people, i.e. lower school, middle school, or upper school, is doing any better than another. I think that the students, faculty, and staff are composting 70-80% of the compostable material they use, but are still throwing away 20-30% of items that could be composted. It would be very helpful if each school, LS, MS, and US, had a group of students that I taught the ins and outs of composting and they based it on to their respective school's.
Q: When did the cafeteria start composting?
We have been composting in the kitchen for the past 3 months, but just rolled the program out to the students last week, Thursday Feb. 24th.
Q: What is important about composting?
Composting is the other half of consuming. We as a whole society have been consuming and wasting more each decade, and our population is growing so we need more food and create more waste than ever before.
As a society, we need to learn how to control our waste with composting and recycling. If everyone would compost and recycle in their home and place of work, I think we would only have 5-10% of waste.
We would be composting and recycling 90-95% of all waste. The landfills will not be able to handle the amount of trash forever. They may not fill up in 10, 20, or 30 years, but I want to leave this world in better shape then it was for me. Don't you?
-Text and Photos by Lauren T. (Class of 2016)