Composting at school is a fun way to learn about nature while also reducing the amount of organic waste that your school produces. An added bonus is that you actually get to see the end result of your efforts - the finished compost can be used to beautify your school's grounds.
What makes good compost?
Good compost depends on a variety of ingredients to make the right mix.
To get healthy compost and avoid a slimy mess infested with fruit flies you need to add 'brown' materials (torn up cardboard boxes, wood shavings or straw work well) each time you add your 'greens' (such as fruit waste). The ratio needs to be about 50:50. It takes your compost about a year to rot down, after which you'll need to use it! Home-made compost is full of nutrients and perfect for beds or tubs around your school.
Be placed in a partially sunny spot to help speed up the process
In an area that is well drained to allow water to drain out
On soil so that worms can get in and help break down the contents
Getting a balance of greens and browns
'Greens' are nitrogen rich materials such as fruit peels, tea bags and grass. When just those items are added to a compost bin the mixture tends to become slimy and sludgy. It is important to add 'browns' or carbon rich materials such as sticks and twigs, shredded paper and toilet roll tubes every time you add greens to the bin to ensure the balance is right. This will also help reduce the likelihood of fruit flies and other pests.
Garden Organic have lots of helpful information about home composting which can be adapted for schools if you are looking for more information about getting started or maintaining your compost bins.
We need help with our compost
If you have the bins (click the link below to see how your school can get free compost bins) but you don't know what to do, we can help. The Waste Minimisation Officer or one of our Master Composter volunteers can come out and give a practical demonstration on how to start and maintain your compost system in school. Please email email@example.com to contact us.
What composting resources are available to my school?
All Gloucestershire schools are able to claim two 330 litre compost bins free of charge. (Please note that only one request may be submitted per academic year.)
In order to help you get the most from your new bin we recommend that you have a visit from one of our Master Composter volunteers who are able to offer advice about location of the bins, what materials to compost and getting the mixture right to enable your school to compost successfully.