This semester is starting off a little more green for three Iowa school districts. Ottumwa Community Schools, Pella Community Schools and (most recently) West Liberty Community Schools have begun the semester by implementing GreenRU composting into their food services.
Both schools started the program at a couple of schools in the district. They are planning to expand so all schools in the district will be diverting their organics from the landfill.
“We’re getting used to it, it isn’t too hard,” said Cheryl Ferguson of Pella High School, as she sliced a pineapple and threw the stock and skin into a orange composting bucket at her feet.
Danny Renfrew, Director of Operations at Ottumwa Community Schools, has wanted to start a program like this for a while, so he is happy to finally have a company who can work with them.
“The kids who we’re doing this for, they’re the ones who inherit this planet,” said Renfrew. He continued that he did not want to leave this planet a mess for the children at the school to clean up when they are adults.
Bob Brisendine, Head Custodian at Douma Elementary School in Ottumwa, has been teaching the children there to separate the waste themselves. The Douma cafeteria now has two big containers marked “Food Waste.” Brisendine is impressed with how quickly the children are picking up food recycling. That day’s waste had only one piece that did not belong in the food waste, which he separated before moving the food waste into the orange organics bin that now sits behind the school.
“It’s a little extra work, but it’s worth it,” Brisendine said.
Both school districts are excited to expand the program to all of their schools. GreenRU and Chamness Technology, Inc. are teaming up to provide this service free of charge to the schools this year.
Already both schools are seeing the huge impact it could have on their waste. In the month of January Ottumwa and Pella School Districts diverted a cumulative total of 1,580 pounds.