In an effort to teach elementary school students what it means to be a green community, the Sherborn Recycling Committee with the help of Sherborn Selectmen George Pucci implemented a composting program at the Pine Hill Elementary School cafeteria.
The composting program has been going on since the beginning of the school year and Pine Hill fourth grader Kendell said, “Now that I’m used to it, it would be hard to go back.”
Carol Rubenstein, chairman of the Sherborn Recycling Committee said, “The recycling committee had not pushed composting until we went to a conference on zero waste,” she added that the committee was looking to make a big push on their next effort for recycling.
Rubenstein said Pucci was very excited, “He had the idea that habits could be changed easier when kids are little and suggested Pine Hill.”
She said their initial conversation was in the fall of 2009, not long after she had gone to the conference and Pucci had been elected.
Pucci, whose children attend Pine Hill, spoke with principal Veronica Kenney, who was interested in participating in the program.
The recycling committee stopped by the school to see what their recycling program had been. “Everything was thrown out,” said Rubenstein.
“We came up with a plan,” Rubenstein said, presented it to the administration and Kenney opted to implement it fall of 2010.
Large green barrels were bought for the food waste and blue barrels for recycling.
Barrels were also bought for the kitchen so they wouldn’t throw away food waste.
At the beginning of the school year, committee members, including Pucci, spent time at the school during lunch to explain to the students where to put the bottles, metal, glass, and plastic, as well as the old Styrofoam trays, potato chip bags, foil plastic, and juice boxes that are layered with foil and very difficult to recycle, explained Rubenstein.
“At first it was difficult and slow,” said Rubenstein, but by December, “We dropped it down to one adult because the kids were doing fine.”
The compost goes to Sherborn’s Hopestill Farm run by Richard Robinson and Wendy Mechaber.
Rubenstein said they initially wanted an out of town farm, but the trucking fees were very high. After a meeting, they discovered they couldn’t afford it.
Then Mechaber, a member of the committee, offered their farm.
“All of sudden it was manna from heaven,” said Rubenstein.
“It is an ongoing concern of the recycling committee, that we want many more residents in Sherborn to start composting their food scraps at home instead of including them in their trash,” said Rubenstein.
She added that food scraps are heavy and trash is paid for by weight this is a good way to reduce that weight.
She calls food scraps “valuable food energy” to be used instead of synthetics which are composed of, “mostly foreign petroleum.”
She said the use of compost would aid in the growth of healthy plants that can absorb CO2. “What a waste of a perfectly good resource,” she said.
As for the kids, they are catching on rather nicely.
Third grader Joey said, “It’s good that they use recyclable trays.”
Matthew, also in the third grade said, “I think it’s wonderful.”