LPS composting program feeds school gardens, teaches students valuable lessons

Lincoln Public Schools diverted more than 1.2 million pounds of organic material from the landfill last school year through its composting program. That number will likely grow this year as all 57 schools with standard cafeterias are now composting.

Four schools started composting this year: Hartley Elementary School, Randolph Elementary School, Lincoln High School and Lincoln North Star High School. LPS started its composting program with a handful of schools five years ago.

LPS Sustainability Coordinator Brittney Albin estimates that Randolph has already diverted more than 500 pounds of food and paper products since the first day of school.

“And that’s a low estimate,” she said.

During a recent lunch period, it was clear that Randolph students had already gotten the hang of what to dump in the composting bin. One by one, with a little help from a teacher, students separated their garbage from their compost materials before they delivered their trays back to the kitchen.

“Composting to me is really just a tool to get to this idea of environmental stewardship and valuing our resources and our planet. Composting is a way to show how our daily actions can have an environmental impact,” she said. “These students are going to be the leaders who take on these challenges in the future.”

Many students also see firsthand the results of their composting efforts. Some schools use compost created through the LPS program to fertilize their gardens.

“Having compost come back to the school and into the garden is a really great way for students to see that cycle,” Albin said. “We do really want them to see the whole process.”

Click here for more information about the LPS composting program and other sustainability efforts.

Published: September 5, 2019, Updated: September 12, 2019