Turning Trash into Plants


Editorial Board

Too much food is wasted during lunch. It should be used for compost for plants.

This crisis goes beyond our school. Lots of food is wasted in the U.S. In 2010, 30 to 40 percent of food was wasted which is nearly 133 billion pounds and roughly $161 billion lost. That is about 365,383,561.6 pounds and $441,095,890.40 lost a day.

There is a high amount of food wasted in our cafeteria. It is very likely a person who buys lunch in the cafeteria will throw away food than finish it all. After seventh grade lunch, half a trash can is often full. This means about one and a half trash cans a day are full of garbage, 10 and a half a week, and about 270 a school year.

The wasted food could be used for compost. The compost could be used to improve a community garden. Compost can make plants better. It improves the quality of any soil and adds nutrients to it. It helps control any diseases or insects that may cause a threat the plants.

We propose having one trash can for food and a recycling bin for paper, plastic, and aluminum materials. This is so everything in the trash bin is compost and the things in the other bin can be used for recycling. Both are eco-friendly.

Many schools use food waste as compost. Compost should have fruits and vegetables, but not be any meat or dairy products.It is required in multiple schools in the state of Vermont to turn food waste to compost. This is also beginning to happen in other states like Nebraska, Washington, and Oregon. Currently, more than 30 schools in Illinois have a program.

You might be wondering who would run this. Have a school club help bring the compost to other community gardens. We recommend Community Service Club. This would help bring the compost to other gardens with the use of little money and work.

As for containing the compost, we would need sawdust, cloth rags, a rolling cart, and at least five, five gallon buckets with lids. The cloth rags will help clean up the food waste. The buckets will store the compost and the sawdust will remove the odor. The rolling cart will help transport the buckets. We can store the compost outside This should cost, at most, $100. 

If you’re worried about people throwing recyclable things in the trash can, don’t worry. Lunch supervisors could issue warnings to students. Signs could also be put to tell students what to put in the trash can.

We see no reason why we cannot turn our immense lunch waste into something that benefits Mundelein communities.