By Sarah Dahl ’15
25 pounds: that’s the amount of food Upper School students waste each day, according to a recent food waste study conducted by Environmental Club member Margy Weathers ’12.
Each day, Margy asked students to place their compostable food (all scraps except meat and dairy) into a bin during lunch, and then she weighed the amount of food.
As a result of the study and the Environmental Club’s efforts, however, that wasted food will soon be put to use: the club plans to implement a composting program next year.
Margy explains, “There was a [composting] program [at BB&N] a few years ago, but there wasn’t enough student interest.”
This time, though, things will be different—with support from faculty, teachers, and students, composting will soon become a reality.
Environmental Club Faculty Advisor Laura Tangusso says, “Mr. Theobald is totally behind this, Keith Jones in the kitchen is behind this, and Margy is in the process of ordering bins with worms for next year.”
According to Margy, composted scraps become “a kind of fertilizer.”
She explains, “All food scraps, except meat and dairy, [will go into bins] which will be placed near the woodshop.” Margy says that for next year, the club is “going to work out a system to carry scraps to the bins after lunch,” hopefully aided by members of the Environmental Club or volunteers from the student body.
Once the food is placed in the bins, worms eat the food scraps, which are turned into nutrient-rich castings as the scraps pass through the worms’ bodies. The castings combine with the rest of the decaying matter and the dirt in the bins, a process that can take anywhere from three to 12 months.
The final product is a “super healthy, intense soil that can be used on the grounds…and really nourishes plants,” Ms. Tangusso says. She adds that the compost may be used to fertilize the school’s garden.
According to Margy, many students are unaware of how much food they waste. During her study, she says she “got some weird stares, and there was a split between people who thought it was just annoying and some people who thought it was cool and fun.”
Next year the club aims to raise more awareness about the school’s composting program and to make wasted food a bigger issue.
“Hopefully this year and next year, there will be more advertisement about saving food,” Margy says.
Ms. Tangusso agrees, saying, “Next year we’ll try to talk more about composting and why it matters, [as well as] how to boost efforts to recycle.”