Berlin implements compost in cafeteria

Photo Courtesy: Reese Manley

Photo Courtesy: Reese Manley

Reese Manley

   Berlin’s Environmental Club places compost bins in the cafeteria to reduce food waste.

   Berlin is a large school which means it creates a lot of waste. However, when people throw their food away in a trash can, that food will travel to a landfill and produce harmful gasses. A member of the club, Junior Katelyn Lanzendorfer, explains the damaging effects of food waste in landfills.

   “Composting reduces the amount of food going to landfills,” Lanzendorfer said. “Decomposing food in landfills releases methane which is one of the worst greenhouse gasses.”

   To reduce Berlin’s carbon footprint, the club implemented this system. They first have a trial period where students put food waste in the compost bins but it still goes in the trash. This is to build a habit before the Environmental Club composts the waste.   “At some point next year is when we’re actually gonna start to compost the food,” Lazendorfer said. “Right now we’re just trying to get people in the habit of separating their food waste from the rest of their trash so that when we do get actual composting at the school it can be more effective.”

   Junior Ella Bjorkman gives insight into what will happen after the trial period.

   “It’s super important because it stops carbon emissions when put in landfills and more land use for our planet/animals,” Bjorkman said. “We hope this composting can prove to the company we can compost, to get a waste-to-energy bin where compost can get turned into electricity for our school.”

   Once the habit has been formed, they will work with a company called the Compost Exchange: Residential Food Scrap Recycling to compost Berlin’s food waste. People can put a multitude of different food items. Some of those items include meat, bones, cheese, dairy, eggs, fruit, vegetables, pasta, rice and grains, bread, and paper towels.

   “Doing our part to reduce the amount of methane in the environment, especially at a big institution like the school, where a lot of food is thrown away, is something very important,” Lazendorfer said.

   Remember to throw food waste into the green compost bins at lunch to help Berlin lessen its Carbon footprint.

   “Though composting might seem like a waste of time, it only takes a few minutes and composting helps our environment out a lot!” Bjorkman said.