Food Waste Reduction

Here are some reasons why a Green School should take on a composting program:

  • Take responsibility for school's waste
  • Recycle natural resources
  • Educate the community about the benefits of composting
  • Change cultural attitudes about garbage in a way that will benefit society
  • Affect the life style decisions made by future citizens of the community
  • Reduce the school solid waste stream

 The cafeteria generates the vast majority of the trash in a school. Food waste is most of the trash from the cafeteria. Food waste represents as much as 16% of most municipal waste streams. 

The Kansas Green School Grant Program has funded two types of school food waste reduction efforts.

Off-site Composting

In urban Johnson County several schools have been sorting out food wastes and hiring a collection service from Missouri Organic, a nearby composting facility. One custodian showed me how much volume the school was saving. He now only takes out one large bag of trash instead of nine! Contact Scott Merfen of Prairie Elementary at or David Conrady of Tomahawk Elementary at

On-site Composting

One particular school district which has taken on food waste composting is the Clifton-Clyde District in north central Kansas. The Green School grant funded the purchase of bins at the High School and Elementary School. Superintendant Brian Pekarek has made many innovative changes in the district. Here he and some assistants are preparing to work on the composters.



I was able to help with the operations by helping to add some soil to help the compost get started. Adding carbon based ingredients is important to balancing the nitrogen and moisture present in the food waste.



Some great resources are available for Green School Composting. Mansfield Middle School in Connecticut has a manual available which is very thorough.











Cornell University has good material also.