Student Action Brought Composting to ISB!
By Muriel Stallworth, PYP Coordinator, French Art Teacher, and ACE Club Advisor
After three months of students consistently separating food waste from other trash, the habit of composting is now firmly established in the ISB Cafeteria. The compost procedure that we use is a Japanese technique called bokashi, which involves spreading bran over discarded food to speed up the fermenting process and convert the waste into fertilizer. With our younger students now beginning to compost in their Preschool classes, we hope that soon all organics (vegetables, meat and dairy) not consumed during lunch will end up in the composting buckets, which are picked up every other week by the Brooklyn-based bokashi company, Vokashi.
Composting was first introduced to ISB last June by two Middle School ACE (Action for the Climate and Environment) Club members, Lila and Esther (‘19), who had dedicated their 8th Grade MYP Community Project to finding a solution to food waste at school. These two determined students clearly explained their motivation: “Composting is very important because 30% of the world’s trash consists of food waste. When food waste is sent to landfills, it releases a harmful gas called methane. Methane plays a big role in global warming because it gets trapped in the atmosphere.” While no food should be wasted at all, a message we convey emphatically, composting is a great way to learn about the many thoughtful choices each of us can make every day.
Middle School Action for the Climate and Environment Club members quizzing Kindergarten students on what sort of waste belongs in the compost bin.
Even better, no food waste!
Composting is only one of several actions undertaken and managed by the ACE Club to contribute to a waste-free environment at ISB. This effort, now supported by the Green Dragons parent group and a task force of teachers and staff who are dedicated to sustainability, began five years ago with the creation of a “Recycling for the Arts” closet, which has become a reliable resource for items needed to create many classroom projects. An e-waste box subsequently found its place in the Technology Office, and more recently, a box dedicated to the collection of used markers to be sent for recycling to the company Crayola was introduced. The club’s latest project is, at the request of our Preschool teachers, making eco-friendly cleaning products for their classrooms. To learn more about the ACE Club’s initiatives, visit the website the students created!