Students at Cherrydale Elementary have been recycling their food scraps and paper waste into composting bins in the cafeteria. Challenge teacher Cindy Gibbs received grants from SC DHEC and Captain Planet Foundation to fund the program.
The school also contracted with Atlas Organics to help them recycle food and paper waste that includes uneaten food, napkins, milk cartons, and paper straw wrappers.
During the 2017-18 school year, Cherrydale students and staff collected 49,377 pounds of food scraps and paper waste – waste that otherwise would have ended up in the landfill. Last week South Carolina DHEC recognized Cherrydale Elementary by presenting Mrs. Gibbs and the students with the Outstanding School Diversion Program award.
“No other school in South Carolina recycled this much food and paper waste,” said DHEC’s Kris Abell. “If we can keep food waste from going into the landfill, we can keep our landfills for hundreds of years.”
Leslie Rodgers, director of education for Atlas Organics added, “The older students were the compost buddies for younger students. With everyone in the school on board and peer-to-peer motivation, everyone was pitching in and doing the right thing. That is the recipe for success.”