Composting in Public Schools

Did you know that, every day, New York City produces enough garbage to fill Yankee Stadium? Over 30% of that garbage is food waste; and when it rots in landfills, it produces methane – a potent greenhouse gas. NYC spends $4 billion a year trucking its garbage to other states because we don’t have anywhere to put it.
Now, an Upper West Side school – PS 166 – wants to do its share to help solve the garbage crisis.

The school is beginning a cafeteria composting pilot program for food waste and bagasse (sugar cane) lunch trays. They will compost until the end of the school year, June 27th. Ten other schools in District 3 (UWS) will be participating in this pilot program, which is being led by the District 3 Green Schools Group in collaboration with the private waste hauler IESI Progressive Waste Solutions and with DOE support.

The purpose of this pioneering multi-school program – the first of its kind in New York City – is to see if schools can reduce the volume of our cafeteria waste (12 garbage bags a day), and to determine whether composting in NYC public schools is possible, and replicable across other school districts.

IESI has provided PS166 with rolling totes, signage, and liner bags for food waste and bagasse trays. IESI will collect the schools food waste and bagasse trays daily – free of charge – for 4 months, and transport it to the Peninsula industrial composting facility in Wilmington, Delaware.

There is a lot of work to make such a program succeed – let’s hope they make it!!!!

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