Cherrydale Students Compost Food Scraps, Paper Waste
Every day in the Cherrydale Elementary cafeteria, students line up to dispose of their food scraps and paper waste into composting bins provided by Atlas Organics, a commercial composting company based in the Upstate, through a $1,500 DHEC grant and a grant from Captain Planet.
The food recycling program began last year on a smaller scale for third, fourth and fifth graders, said Challenge Teacher Cindy Gibbs. “They started composting during lunch,” said Mrs. Gibbs. “Challenge students had a bucket for third through fifth graders. Classmates would put their fruit and vegetable scraps from their trays in the buckets that Challenge students carried to each table.” The food scraps were deposited into a compost bin near the school’s raised bed vegetable garden.
This year, the composting program was expanded to include all students. Leslie Rodgers, director of education for Atlas Organics, said kindergarten through fifth grade students are recycling food and paper waste, including uneaten food, milk cartons, napkins, and paper straw wrappers that will be used to make compost.
“Educating the next generation on sustainable waste habits is important to not only our company’s success, but the success of our communities and the health of our soil,” she explained. “When I work with students, we talk about their role in taking a very large problem and becoming key players in the solution.”