District-wide Composting Initiative

     With a grand launch at Four Corners Elementary (ribbon-cutting ceremony and all) the Greenfield Public Schools have begun a district wide integrated waste management program intended to divert biodegradable waste from landfills back into soil. The success of this program was evident immediately! The first schools to begin saw an immediate reduction in non-recyclable waste, to the extent that about 75% of waste is being recycled or composted on a weekly basis. This program is modeling responsible stewardship to Greenfield students. At every grade level we are finding students to be curious, engaged, and supportive of the efforts. By the end of School Year 2015-2016, Greenfield High School, the Math and Science Academy at Green River, and Four Corners Elementary had all implemented school-wide composting programs. By the end of School Year 2016-2017, this initiative will be happening in every single Greenfield Public School!

Martin's Composting in Greenfield Martin's Composting in Greenfield

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From Munch to Mulch

Greenfield Recorder, 02/27/16

By TOM RELIHAN Recorder Staff

Discovery School at Four Corners kicks off composting program

GREENFIELD — Who could love a worm?

Evidently, the students at the Discovery School at Four Corners, who graciously thanked the necessary nightcrawlers that will help make the school’s new composting program a success.

The first of Greenfield’s seven schools to implement the state grant-funded program, students and staff at Four Corners officially started composting their leftover lunch scraps, empty milk cartons and even the cardboard trays they ate off of at the end of lunch Friday afternoon.

The $30,000 state Department of Environmental Protection’s Sustainable Materials Recovery Program grant paid for all the equipment and educational materials needed to launch the program, and it will support continued consulting services from Amy Donovan, the Franklin County Solid Waste District’s program director.

Getting the money was a collaborative effort between the town, the schools, the solid waste management district and Greening Greenfield, a local group that works to promote sustainability in town, among others.

Donovan kicked off the program with a presentation on what can and can’t be composted — no bottles, cans or aluminum foil; those will be placed in a separate recycling bin — and about the environmental benefits and impacts of composting.

But if anyone in the school still needed convincing that composting is the way to go, Donovan had an assist from four students who shared essays they’d penned about the merits of the practice.

“If you don’t compost, our world will have trash,” said fourth-grader Lilly Ross. “But, if you do compost, there won’t be trash all over our world. And our world shouldn’t be filled with trash.”

She said composting practitioners may not see the effects right away, but they’ll certainly notice the quality of their water degrading from leachate poisoning if the scraps end up in landfills instead.

She also noted how much it costs the town to dispose of trash, about $75 per ton, compared to compost at $45 per ton.

“When you think about it, you save money and save the world from more trash than there should be,” she concluded.

Superintendent Jordana Harper noted how the students’ enthusiasm for the project, including letters they wrote imploring her to pursue the grant, helped make it a reality.

“Looking around the room today, you can see what a team effort this is,” she said. “I’m so proud of the students at Four Corners for really leading the charge, I’m so proud of the staff for their commitment to taking care of our environment. It’s really exciting to see it coming from our students and staff.” The composted waste, Donovan said, will be shipped off to Martin’s Farm on Plain Road in Greenfield to be turned into fertile topsoil and sold.

Composting at Four Corners, Picture by Tom Relihan, Recorder

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