Kid composting

Trash here, food there: Hall Fletcher is running a pilot program for commercial composting and has seen a 87 percent decrease in trash in the first week. photo by Bill Rhodes

A steady stream of kids come to the trash can with lots of uneaten food on their trays, from chili-macaroni leftovers to peaches. Danny Keaton — owner of Danny’s Dumpster, a local recycling/trash-hauling company — gives them encouragement and advice on where to put what. "Pringles cans," Keaton says, "are kind of compostable, if you tear them apart. But who does that?"

Hall Fletcher Elementary school is the first local school to send all its biomass waste to a commercial compost facility. The first day of the project, the school’s trash-bag count went from eight to just one bag of non-compostable, non-recyclable trash.

Michele Corral, Hall Fletcher’s representative on the Asheville City School's green team, says, "We had an assembly before spring break, showed the kids a PowerPoint about compost, and played a few games based on that knowledge." She adds, with pride, "I mean, look at them: They are just doing it, and this is the first week."

The school got a grant to assist with costs of the project, which are minimal, Corral explains. Danny's Dumpster hauls the waste to the compost facility then return with free compost. Returning all that uneaten chili-mac to the garden at the school seems like a win-win.

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