Composting for Schools Project to Kick Off This Month

September 23, 2021 0

The Dublin Local Authorities Chief Executives have announced the launch of the Composting for Schools Initiative. This pilot project for Dublin area primary and secondary schools is being led by Composting Ireland with funding support from the four Dublin area local authorities and the Eastern-Midlands Regional Waste Management Plan Office. Hugh Coughlan Coordinator of the EMRWMPO is delighted to help fund the Composting for Schools Project.

This is a vitally important initiative that aims to increase knowledge and skills about food waste and composting among students of all ages and the wider school community. This project is highly replicable and what is achieved in schools in the Dublin region can be duplicated right across the Eastern-Midlands Region and indeed, throughout the whole country.

Composting for Schools Photo LaunchThe aim of the programme is to help schools set up, start or improve composting to reduce waste, save money and combat climate change and assist them in attaining Green School Flags and Sustainable Development Goals. The pilot programme will also make it easy for teachers to access a variety of fun, participatory and interactive activities for school children to learn about composting and gardening. These activities will support children’s understanding of the underlying principles of ecology, biology and biodiversity that underpin all life on our planet.

Fingal County Council Environment, Climate Action and Active Travel Department Director of Services Dave Storey stated

This is a great opportunity for Fingal schools to tackle climate change and reduce emissions from food and landscape waste while also creating a quality compost in the circular economy. We look forward to working with both primary and secondary schools on the initiative.

Craig Benton from Composting Ireland who is the main lead said

I am thrilled to see this come to fruition and look forward to working with over 100 schools, teaching them about the main elements of composting and installing systems that they can use to reduce emissions and recycle natural resources.

Dr. Sandra Austin, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department for Global Diversity, Sustainability and Intercultural Education Lead in Sustainability at the Marino Institute of Education who is on the steering group for this project said

This innovative programme gives teachers and schools the confidence, knowledge and skills to embed education for sustainability into their teaching and learning. Practical support, online training and access to high-quality educational resources with curriculum connections clearly outlined, make it easy to connect classroom learning across a range of subjects with the practical and effective actions being undertaken by the school to reduce waste and promote the recycling of natural resources.

Teachers and other school staff are invited to participate in an online training programme (4 x 1.25 hour workshops) to learn about composting and how it supports essential water, nutrient and carbon cycles that allows us to grow the food we need to thrive. The training will also introduce teachers to a variety of learning activities they can use in the classroom to simulate learning by students at all age levels. After the training, a specialist from Composting Ireland will conduct a site visit to each participating school to help it set up systems for separating food waste for brown bin collection, establish composting systems for garden and landscape materials and/or install wormeries to compost food waste from staff and student lunches. All of these will prevent waste and decrease greenhouse gas emissions as well as provide the tools for students to learn about soil ecology and the biology of composting organisms.

Each participating school will receive a €250 voucher from their local authority to spend on in-school collection caddies, instructional signs, a variety of composting systems and composting tools including secateurs, pitch forks, watering cans and thermometers. Environmental Education Officer with Fingal County Council Sinéad Fox has been working on developing this Composting For Schools Project alongside Craig Benton and is looking forward to engaging with schools in Fingal.

To sign up for the programme, teachers, caretakers and school office staff can visit the Composting Ireland website to view a short two-minute introductory video, read about how the programme works, fill out a short survey about their school and choose a set of training dates to get started.

Places are limited and are given on a first come first served basis. So please do not hesitate to jump on this unique opportunity by visiting www.compostingireland.ie/schools/