Signs in the Upper School Commons remind students what can and cannot be composted.

Signs in the Upper School Commons remind students what can and cannot be composted.

From Garbage to Garden

The scoop on composting is that it's an easy and effective way to reduce waste and provide healthy soil for a garden. It's one of the simplest ways for people to recreate Earth's natural cycle. And at the Elms, composting is now a way of life.

As a midterm project in the Upper School's inaugural Ohio's Natural History class, student's designed and implemented a composting plan that can be maintained through the years.

In order to establish an ongoing compost initiative, the first step was to clean up and refurbish a long-forgotten compost bin.  The bin was moved to a more prominent place near the Upper School for easy access.

After thoroughly studying what items are meant for composting and what items should go to a landfill, students developed posters to help educate others on what should be included in a compost bin.  These include things like lettuce, non-citrus fruits, eggshells, tea bags and certain paper products.  Never compost meat scraps, onions or paper products coated in plastic.

The plan for the project included estimated costs, a timeline for implementation, a maintenance schedule and an evaluation process.

The success of the project involves school-wide participation so the students planned a campus wide assembly near Earth Day to build enthusiasm for the program, solicit volunteers to empty the buckets in the commons, turn the compost bin and clean the buckets and bins regularly.  The response was  overwhelmingly positive and the volunteer sheets were filled up.  The event ended with a "bugs and dirt" dessert.