Compost project turns trash into sustainable soil

Seniors Drew Wetherington, Maria Nguyen and Katelyn Freund collect lettuce and other vegetables in the Lindbergh High School cafeteria. The students take the disposed-of food to a compost bin outside near the baseball fields.

Seniors Drew Wetherington, Maria Nguyen and Katelyn Freund collect lettuce and other vegetables in the Lindbergh High School cafeteria. The students take the disposed-of food to a compost bin outside near the baseball fields.

Lettuce, pickles and green beans are no longer the only green items in the Lindbergh High School cafeteria.

A compost bin located near the trash cans now provides a way for students to dispose of uneaten lunch items in a way that also helps sustain the environment.

“Our goal is to reduce the amount of solid waste that is produced throughout our school, especially in the cafeteria,” Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate chemistry teacher Doug Barton stated in a district news release. “In addition, the project makes students aware of the importance of recycling and service and the relationship between chemistry, biology and our environment.”

The compost can in the cafeteria and smaller, airtight green bins in select teachers’ rooms are emptied each day by seniors Bill Iverson, Katelyn Freund, Dan Anderson-Little, Maria Nguyen,  Jacob Luciani, Drew Wetherington and Liz Black, all of whom are candidates for the IB diploma.

The students dispose of waste in large outdoor wooden bins that were built by AP/IB biology teacher Tom Humphries.

Eventually, compost will be offered to the public free with a request for donations to help sustain the program long term.

“The students have done a great job getting this program off the ground and it would not be possible without the help of our cafeteria workers and custodians, and the support of our administrators,” Barton stated.

The composting project was funded by a $500 Lindbergh School District Foundation Spirit of Lindbergh teacher grant, which was awarded to Barton in January.

His goal moving forward is to expand the program into schools districtwide.