Project lead group
If the school has an Eco-Committee, composting would normally be within its remit. It is recommended that the school Eco Committee include:
- The Head teacher (or a member of the senior management team),
- School bursar or manager,
- Representative of the Governor(s),
- Representative(s) from local authorities,
- and a member of the local community.
Eco Committees normally include pupils chosen or elected to represent different year groups and the whole school, together with an Eco-Coordinator
(a member of staff to support but not lead the committee). This staff member would then assume the role of designated composting site contact with the Environmental Agency
It would be beneficial if a composting subcommittee
were formed to actually organise and lead the composting project.
Students or pupils
not just on committees but also in the practical implementation is one of the keys to a successful composting program, and it’s important to encourage them to feel ownership of the all, or defined parts, of the program.
If possible most students will be involved in the program by sorting their lunch box waste daily, sorting other binned waste to select compostable
material as well as possibly separating the waste in the canteen, if a self clear system is used. It would aslo help to recruit a group of ten to twelve students to act as the core committee to drive the programme. These might be the student representative
on the Eco-Committee or an additional group dedicated to the hands on operation of the composting project. As on the Eco-committee there should be representatives for different age groups as this will not only ensure involvement across the school but
provide for succession planning so that the expertise can be passed on to the younger students who will eventually become the leaders of the team.
If the County has, a Master Composter scheme it would be
advantageous if a Master composter was invited to attend the compost committee to act as a source of advice and offer practical assistance.
Students should be educated about
composting at the start of the school year. The routine for streaming waste can be introduced on the first day of school so that they can sort of lunch and snack waste and start to develop composting habits from day one.
Classroom compost champions
A Compost Championing the scheme under which a designated individual being made responsible preparing
a rota for distributing, emptying and cleaning caddies, reporting on implementation of the scheme and correct use caddies covering all classes were food is eaten or organic matter is discarded would ensure both wide involvement and the practical
implementation of the scheme.
The role of staff groups
The involvement of teaching staff is essential to the success of the project and for ensuring the continued involvement of the student body. Teaching staff play a key role in introducing the program to the students each year,
in ensuring that classroom food waste is collected and put in the correct caddies and for integrating composting and waste reduction into school curricula. Course material is available from WRAP, Garden Organic and many other sours A number of sessions are
provided on this website.
Local Master Composters may deliver presentations for Assemblies and classes as well as specific composting related sessions.
The Catering staff (if cooked food or canteen waste is to be included) should be consulted at the outset. It is critical that they be on board with the program, as they
will be responsible for several key components. It is also important to consult them on where food waste bins should be located and where food waste should be stored until collection day. The Catering Manager may also need to be involved in modifying the contract
with the company that currently collects food waste from the school.
On a practical level, catering staff and other lunchtime supervisors will be responsible for waste collection in the kitchen and in the eating area where
plate scrapings will need putting in the correct caddy.
Those preparing meals will need to segregate waste during food preparation and any leftovers. Ideally catering staff would monitor the quantities of waste produced
from their areas.
Those serving meals will need to encourage students to only take, or accept the only as much food as they can eat and encourage the segregation of waste left on plates
Premises or Caretaking staff
Caretaking staff may be required to collect and deliver the waste bins from the canteen to the composting area and may
have oversight or responsibility for the care and maintenance of any food composter. The premises staff should be involved at an early stage and should play the key role in the selection of the location of the food composter, ensuring that there is a suitable
means of transporting the caddies to and from the composting area on the suitability of bins location of bins other than in classroom and kitchens, how and when the bins are transported to the composting area,
need to be a “designated adult” to fill, monitor and harvest the composter and take responsibility for stock control of the consumables. The role should have at least one trained deputy who could cover the duties during holidays, sickness
etc. In a small school this may only take about 10-15 minutes per day provide the full caddies are delivered and the empties removed by students. In larger schools, the role may require 20-30 minutes daily. Although this role is list under the
caretaking staff section, it could be fulfilled by a teacher, teaching assistant or member of the catering staff
The compost operator’s role should have a separate job description or role profile that could be added
to that of the individual undertaking the task.
Parents and PTA
The composting project could provide a useful means to involve
parents in the school in addition to a parent serving on the Eco- help as volunteers in the composting area or garden areas during the initial stages of the scheme. Parents who are already experienced composters can use their expertise to help with the composting.
A presentation at the PTA meeting could lead to greater involvement and the PTA might help raise funds or seek grants to support the project.