Composting

When organic materials (food scraps, yard waste, manure, etc.) are broken down by microorganisms, the resulting nutrient-rich product is called compost. The LPS composting program is district wide. That waste is then hauled to one of several commercial compost operations in the Lincoln area, each with a varying process of breaking down the organic material.

The composting operation at Prairieland Dairy Farm uses a turned windrow system, where the organic material is formed into long narrow piles that are turned periodically during a 6 to 9-month curing process. This method requires controlled conditions, so the temperature, moisture, and oxygen levels are closely monitored. Once the process is complete, the compost product is a valuable soil amendment that can be used to improve local soils.

Some schools also send their organic waste to Big Red Worms, which is a vermicomposting operation. Vermicomposting involves the use of worms, Red Wigglers in this case, to break down the organic waste and turn it into the nutrient rich product.

This video will teach you about the recycling and composting process at our schools, and how the composting material helps the community when it leaves the school.

How does the LPS compost program work?

A good portion of lunch materials are compostable, but some are not. Before students are dismissed, they are asked to sort their tray into the appropriate categories. These categories include liquids, milk cartons, compost, and landfill items. Click on each category below to learn more about where individual items go.

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!

Resources

Compost Program Resource Toolkit

Staff members, please check out our Waste Resources for Staff page for any further questions.

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

Liquids

Cartons

Cans and Plastic Bottles

Landfill

Compost