When organic materials (food scraps, yard waste, manure, etc.) are broken down by microorganisms, the resulting nutrient-rich product is called compost. LPS collects organic materials from across the district. Most of our collection happens in cafeterias, but offices, classrooms, and restrooms also play an important part.

We collect compostable material in all 57 of our standard K-12 buildings, the District Office, and the Operations Building. The collected material is hauled to local composting operation Prairieland Gold, where is turned into a valuable soil amendment that can be used to improve local soils.

How does the LPS compost program work?

Before students are dismissed from lunch, they are asked to sort the waste on their tray by category.

Hover over the items below to see where to put each tray item at the end of the lunch period!


Liquids must be emptied from cartons into the appropriate container. This will likely be the first step when emptying a lunch tray.


Place emptied cartons in the container with the mesh lining so any remaining liquid can drip out. It is very important that the cartons go to the recycling facility completely dry.

Cans & Plastic Bottles

Cans and plastic bottles should be placed in the labeled container. Make sure to remove the lids from plastic bottles before throwing the bottle into the recycling bin!


Waste that can’t be recycled goes into the landfill. This waste category includes: plastic wrappers, styrofoam, foil, dishes that are contaminated with food, and single use plastic such as cutlery.


The compostable dishes found in all schools go into the green compost bin, along with any food left on a lunch tray. This bin is also the place for paper products like napkins, straw wrappers, plates, and cups.

The Results

Once a school implements the food waste compost program in their cafeteria, they are diverting both compostable and recyclable materials from the landfill. So far, the composting schools have experienced an average diversion rate of 52%, which means over half of their waste is being recycled or composted instead of being sent to the landfill. Before the compost program, some of those buildings had a diversion rate below 20%, so this program is having a HUGE impact on our waste management!

Check out our DIVERSION REPORTS to see how each of the schools are doing!

Recycling & Composting in the Cafeteria