Virginia Schools Pilot Offers Food Waste Education

Posted by Barbara Bowen, Virginia NRCS inConservation

Dec 13, 2021

Two people near a compost bag at a school

Through a novel collaboration with USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production, meals leftovers from six district colleges in Prince William County, Virginia, at the moment are being sorted, bagged, and picked up earlier than being blended with natural yard waste and processed into compost on the county’s recycling middle. In the primary six weeks of this system, nearly eight tons of meals scraps have been recycled reasonably than buried within the county landfill.

Prince William operates the state’s second-largest college district, with greater than 90,000 college students attending lessons in 95 buildings. The undertaking was awarded greater than $88,000 as one of many nation’s first pilot initiatives within the Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) program for 2021. The pilot program started in October in any respect six collaborating colleges.

The composting course of begins when college students deposit their meals waste in trash cans reserved for compost. The college district and the county then carry of their business companions to select up luggage of pre-sorted meals waste and take them to a compost manufacturing operation at a neighborhood recycling facility, the place they’re blended with backyard waste after which shredded, passing over magnets at one level to permit for extraction of miscellaneous steel. The compost is then ripened, first in a concrete bunker and ultimately in lengthy columns of 20-foot-high piles referred to as “windrows.” An progressive course of that aerates the compost whereas it matures has shortened the time between assortment and resale from 12 to 6 months.

The first compost together with waste from the six colleges can be usable in February or March of 2022. Some of the compost can be offered, and a few can be given again to the college district to fertilize gardens on college property.

For the total story, see the weblog on the Virginia NRCS web site or be taught extra about OUAIP cooperative agreements.

A man standing beside compost cans

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