District wide composting leads to big environmental savings

The LPS compost program went district wide at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year, which is a major accomplishment! This means every standard LPS cafeteria collects food scraps and organic material during lunch, leading to an average district diversion rate of 50% through both the composting and recycling programs. LPS is proud to put forth effort to create a more sustainable future for many generations to come. 

So the district waste diversion rate is 50%, but what does that mean and why is it important? When organic materials (food scraps, yard waste, manure, etc.) are broken down by microorganisms, the resulting nutrient-rich product is called compost. Compost can then be used as fertilizer to create productive soil to produce healthy food. Turning food scraps into compost diverts waste from the landfill by turning waste into useful material instead.

If waste is sent to a landfill, it can’t be broken down properly. Waste in a landfill is packed together so tightly that oxygen cannot circulate through the waste. Due to the lack of oxygen, the bacteria in the waste releases methane which is a dangerous greenhouse gas. When food is composted instead, oxygen is present along with carbon and nitrogen which allows food waste to decompose releasing less, if any, harmful gases. Composting also eliminates food waste from contributing to landfills that are filling up.