Down To Earth

Jan 31, 2011 7:54 AM by Bea Karnes

Colorado school kids dig composting program

GREELEY(AP)-Michael Lang understands the importance of composting any food waste and other products during lunchtime.

And he's only in the fifth grade.

Michael, 11, and his classmates at Grandview Elementary School in Windsor recently became the first elementary school in Weld County to recycle compostable waste during their lunch periods.

"I think it's going to be fun to start composting. It's going to be really important, and it's going to help a lot," Michael said. "I think it will give us a good start."

Kimber Korsgaard, the sales manager from Clean Air Compost in Fort Collins, was at the school Friday morning explaining the importance of composted materials to the students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Korsgaard explained to the students how composting is breaking down organic materials and turning it into a soil-like material.

"Composting is a natural form of recycling which continually occurs in nature," said Korsgaard, who is a 1994 Windsor High School graduate.

Korsgaard told the students that composting is an excellent way to support local farmers to help with soil for their crops, as well as making a huge environmental impact. She said the only other school in Weld County that is composting at lunch is Union Colony Preparatory School in Greeley.

Korsgaard said composting is extremely important for young kids to understand.

"I don't care what side of the political spectrum. I don't care how you feel about the planet and environment, but the thing with composting is that you care about local agriculture and farming," said Korsgaard, who counts many restaurants in Fort Collins, as well as homes, as clients. "I feel it bridges everyone. The schools are fantastic because kids are amazing. The younger the better because they get really excited about stuff. Once they learn it, it's habit."

She said composting keeps waste out of landfills, which will reduce methane gas emissions. Such items as all food products (meat, bones, dairy), paper products (newspaper, magazines, napkins, paper plates, coffee cups, paper grocery bags, junk mail), and regular and waxy cardboard (cereal boxes, ice cream cartons, milk and juice cartons) can be composted.

Instead of the students dumping the food into the trash can, there will be five composting bins provided by Clean Air Compost.

Grandview principal David Grubbs said each bin costs $6 per week to be picked up and emptied by Clean Air Compost.

Grubbs is looking for sponsors to help offset the composting costs. He said the funds for the pilot program the rest of the year will be taken out of the activities budget.

Grandview head custodian Betty Mestas said it will be exciting to see all the food she used to throw away going toward composting.

"A lot of waste. It will be savings even on trash bags," she said. "I go through probably 10 bags a day. I'm really excited. I think it's going to be cool."

 

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