California State University, Northridge

California State University, Northridge presents
It’s Elementary: Composting to Reduce Organic Waste
A science-based composting program for elementary schools.

Science is at the heart of a new composting program that uses a neighborhood elementary school as a laboratory to explore how schools could transform the way they dispose of their organic waste. The problem is enormous. The LA Unified School District (LAUSD) serves 650,000 meals to school children throughout Los Angeles County daily and as a result generates approximately one ton of organic waste per school per week – waste that typically goes into the landfill where it decays anaerobically, releasing methane, a potent greenhouse gas. The school district recognizes the problem, but it has not been able to implement compost and recycling goals at the individual school level. This project focuses on creating a customized solution at a single school and is a win-win for everyone. By teaching elementary school students to compost food waste, they learn to do their part to reduce greenhouse gases; by creating healthy nutrient-rich compost, they are able to sustainably feed the soil for their garden; and by developing a prototype program at a single school, the model can be replicated. Next steps include the expansion of the program to other LAUSD schools, including educational and composting workshops.

Faculty Lead:
Loraine Lundquist

Jalen Bolden, Carlos Marin, Angelica Sabinay, Faith Supangkat, Zareh Tchiroyan

Collaborating Partner:
Arminta Elementary School

Aligned LA County Sustainability Plan Goals:
Goal 5: Thriving ecosystems, habitats, and biodiversity. Goal 9: Sustainable production and consumption of resources. Goal 10: A sustainable and just food system that enhances access to affordable, local, and healthy food.

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