Composting Program Introduced to Cafeteria


A student tosses his leftovers in the compost bin. South is recognized as the highest composting school in the district. photo by Kice Mansi

Amelia Holcomb, Mitch Brock, and Mara Baine

With worries about the waste consumption, changes are being made in the district to control it. High schools, middle schools and eventually elementary schools are or will be enforcing a new composting program as an initiative to reduce the amount of trash that enters the landfill. Joan Leavens, Coordinator of Sustainability and Community Engagement, plans that by the end of 2018, all 50 schools and buildings in the district will be on board with the new program.

“We partner with Missouri Organic Recycling and that is a compost company. They pick it up three days a week and take it out to their facility and they go through a ten week process,” Leavens said. Missouri Organic takes the former food, plastic and paper and converts it back into soil after the ten weeks. The converted soil can be purchased by the district to use in gardens and the culinary center.

Since the program has hit the schools, it has been all volunteer-based and every school has improved on their percentage of waste that goes to the landfills.

“We diverted 97 percent of the cafeteria waste, that’s essentially a zero waste. That means that we had three pounds of trash yesterday,” Leavens said.

With this new program intact, the amount of waste going into compost has increased, improving the sustainability of the school and district.