School Name: John Paul II Collegiate, North Battleford
Campaign Name: Bokashi Composting: Waste Reduction Campaign
Campaign Description: We started the Bokashi composting as a way to deal with food waste in out classroom. The Functional Integrated Program operates a micro-business called Health Club which provides fresh fruit and fresh salads made at school for staff who pay for the service. This volume of fresh fruits and vegetables creates considerable waste. In previous years we donated the food scraps to another staff member who had a flock of chickens. Then, we did an outdoor pile. I learned about the Bokashi method from a friend, and I knew it would work in our classroom.
When we started to collect waste in the sealed pails, the advantages of the Bokashi method were obvious: no smell, no fruit flies, and flexible scheduling. The pail can sit at school over the Christmas holidays. When I had vermi-composting (worms) in years past, I had to take the heavy containers home with me every school break.
- It is so easy! We have slowly expanded the food waste collection and the number of people involved in the project.
- Placed collection container for used coffee grounds in the staff room at our school.
- Placed collection container in the Home Economics kitchen lab. Approximately 100 students per semester are doing cooking classes so they have all learned about composting, and are participating in the project.
- Started a satellite project at a nearby elementary school. Three teachers are leading the project at Ecole Monseigneur Blaise-Morand (EMBM). I initially approached Principal Theo Masich and he said that the staff had been interested in a composting project in the past, but there was no consensus about how exactly to do it.
- Started a satellite project at the Central Office of our Light of Christ School Division. They are collecting used coffee grounds and the container is picked up weekly in conjunction with the internal mail delivery service.
- The next step is to create a collection pail in the cafeteria at our high school. This will definitely add a considerable volume of food waste which will be transformed into valuable, organic fertilizer for the school’s garden plots. This colection from the cafeteria is scheduled to begin mid-May and operate until the end of the school year.
What we noticed in the classroom was that our garbage was not needing to be emptied as it was before. All food scraps go into the Bokashi pails, so there was no bad smell coming from the garbage. And, no fruit flies!!
I talked with the custodial staff and made the arrangement that our classroom garbage would be emptied only on Fridays, instead of every day. Not only is this a significant reduction in the volume of our waste, but this is an 80% reduction in the consumption of black, plastic garbage bags.
Our project has attracted the attention of other teachers and several have purchased kits through our classroom. I approached the local Discovery Co-op to ask if our school group could do a demonstration in the mall with the gardening supplies. The Co-op’s vision was to promote it as part of the produce department in the grocery store area. The Co-op was very excited about the project because it is aligned with their corporate agenda to reduce waste and make a positive contribution to the environment.
The Co-op is eager to be the retail outlet for the Bokashi Kits and Bokashi Mix. The students and staff in the Functional Integrated Program have learned how to grow the microbes in the Mix, which in turn creates the fermentation process in the Bokashi pails. The recipe for the Mix is simple enough, with only four ingredients, but growing microbes is a tricky business because it takes two weeks to ‘cook.’
Campaign Results: Students are learning that “garbage” is not an all-encompassing word. There are many categories of waste, which must be respected as we face our future.
We have impacted so many more people than initially intended. I was only focused on solving the fruit fly problem, but there are some ideas that are just too good! Whenever I would talk to people about it, there was instant interest and people wanted to know more.
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