The composting program that began at West Middle School four years ago has taken hold at Wayzata High School this year and students there have significantly reduced the amount of land-fill-bound garbage produced during lunch.
Prior to the composting program, custodial staff regularly collected 84 bags of garbage per school day from the cafeteria. This has been reduced to 10 bags of garbage per day with the start of the composting program.
Rene Maas, a technician with the district's Culinary Express department, said staff members were surprised by the amount of garbage the program reduced and are continuing to find replacement products that are compostable. Currently, compostable items used by the Culinary Express department for lunch items include all plates, utensils, paper cups, napkins, paper bowls for sandwiches and milk cartons. The department is seeking replacement products for fruit cups, chip bags, fruit drinks and other plastic packaging.
The switch from garbage to composting has brought new challenges though that custodial staff is addressing. The school now uses 25 containers for compost bags, which are filled rapidly. WHS Head Custodian Kirk DeCamp, said the district is looking into a third pick-up per week for the compost containers in order to keep up with the program.
Parent volunteers and student council representatives are helping students during lunch times to determine which items on their trays are compostable. Student council senior class president Drew Donlin, said the amount of garbage reduced by composting was surprising just in the first week of the program. He said student council members will volunteer at lunch time near composting stations for the first month of this program until the student body has a better grip on what materials can be composted.