Case Study: Organic Waste Diversion in Schools

Effective separation of organic waste is critical to the success of an organics diversion program. Natur-Bag compostable products help to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and also improve processing at compost facilities to ensure a high-quality end product.

Organic Waste Diversion in Schools

An independent Minnesota school district, made up of 31 schools, with 28,000 students and 3,500 staff has all of their food service facilities participate in an organic waste collection program. The school began the composting program in 2003 as an initiative to reduce solid waste hauling costs. Originally, food scraps and other organic materials were collected directly into unlined containers in the cafeterias which were then co-collected with bagged non-organic trash. When collected and hauled, the trash bags in the truck often ripped open and contaminated the organic waste. The unlined cans in the school also posed a sanitary issue since they needed to be cleaned frequently to avoid odors.

To resolve the problem of contaminated compost and soiled collection bins, the school district chose Natur-Bag compostable trash bags. Under the revised composting program, all organic waste is separated into collection bins lined with Natur-Bag compostable can liners. Then the bags containing the organic waste are collected by a local commercial compost facility, who sells the resulting compost material to local landscapers. Often the compost returns full-circle since it is used for school district land projects. 

       

By using the Natur-Bag compostable bags, the school distict has been able to simplify and improve the efficiency of their organic waste diversion program, as well as eliminate the contamination of the final compost material. The program has reduced district garbage tipping fees by nearly 25 percent. It has also drastically cut their overall waste contribution to landfills. The program has been an effective way for administration, educators, and students to learn the environmental and economic benefits of composting, as well as raise awareness of their own individual carbon footprint.