Resources for Schools – Garden & Food Waste

Garden and Food Waste Facts

Approximately a third or sometimes even as much as half of garden and food waste can end up in landfill?

When waste is sent to landfill air cannot get to this organic waste. Therefore as the waste breaks down it creates a harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which damages the Earth’s atmosphere. (Methane, is 23 times more harmful as a greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide.)

However, when this same waste is composted above ground at home, oxygen helps the waste to decompose aerobically which means hardly any methane is produced and you get a free fertiliser for the garden and plant pots to keep them looking beautiful.

What is compost? 

Compost forms as a result of the natural breakdown of organic
material into fine particles by bacteria, fungi, insects and animals
which live in soil. As these organisms break down waste they generate heat, which is why compost heaps often feel warm and can sometimes even be seen steaming in cold weather.

You can use a whole range of things to make compost:

  • Garden waste including leaves, grass cuttings, old flowers
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit & vegetable peelings
  • Tea bags
  • Bedding from vegetation pets including rabbits and guinea pigs
  • Shredded paper and cardboard including cereal and egg boxes

Activities and Ideas to reduce food/garden waste in schools

Get children to each make Soilariums (mini compost jars/bottles) – Find out how under our main Waste page under Garden/Food Waste. This activity is perfect because the children can watch compost being made with their own eyes.

Set up a composting system in your school: –
Build wooden compost bins or find one to suit your situation; many types exist, from oil drums with holes drilled in to store bought layered, black plastic ones.
Perhaps even get your school to buy an E.M. Bokashi composting system. This is a simple and effective method that often works well for schools. A bokashi double-bucket unit can be used to compost both cooked and raw foods, including meat, fish and cheese.
Set up collection bins for food scraps only and have these collected to feed animals such as chickens/pigs, or use them as compost for the school gardens.
Consider composting food waste in a worm farm bin.
If you school manages to produce a lot of healthy compost you could even sell it as a fundraising venture.