LPS implements compost bin to prevent food waste

Published: Aug. 28, 2019 at 7:08 PM CDT
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A compost bin now sits behind the silverware tray, leftover milk bucket and trash can in a cafeteria at Randolph School. It's part of a new sustainability program at Lincoln Public Schools. This year- the bin is new to Randolph.

"Randolph just started this compost program at the beginning of the school year and we're already expecting well over 500 pounds of organic material being diverted from the landfill so far this month," said Brittney Albin, the Sustainability Coordinator at Lincoln Public Schools. "We really want them to see the food full cycle."

Anything that can be composted goes in; food, paper products and even compostable salad bowls. The small bin in the cafeteria has been making a big difference across 57 buildings within the school district.

"Last year through our compost program, we collected over 1.2 million pounds of organic material," said Albin.

Keep Nebraska Beautiful also wants to start a food waste prevention after-school program. President and CEO, Meagan Deichert, said it's good to teach children now how they can help the environment.

"When you can really teach a habit in a kid, they can take that into adulthood and it can make a huge impact," said Deichert

Deichert and Albin said they hope the students are taking these skills home to their families.

"The average American wastes 300 pounds of food a year," said Diechert. "A family of four spends about $1500 a year on food they will throw away."

The compost bin from the school is taken to local processors and returned and used at school gardens.

"It's just a way to give students a way to have action everyday in their life to help our environment," said Albin.

Deichert said the after-school program could be started up as soon as next fall.