Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Field Trip

Last week a group of staff and students toured the new Organic Recycling facility owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC). The 25 acre site just became operational this fall and our school district waste hauler, Dick's Sanitation, has partnered with the SMSC so all of our organic waste materials are now brought there rather than being deposited into a landfill.

Organic recyclable materials include brush, wood, sawdust, grass, leaves, food waste, produce, paper waste (such as tissues and paper towels) essentially anything that has been been alive at some point so glass, metals, plastics, rocks and minerals are not accepted. The process for turning the organic waste into compost takes approximately 12 weeks so the students were able to see the end result of their organic waste from the first week of week of school back in September.

The name says it all.

Temperatures in compost reach over 130 degrees.

So why compost? Well, there are several great environmental benefits:
  • Less greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reduction of waste volume by at least half
  • Pathogens and weed seeds are eliminated from waste by the prolonged high temperatures
  • Amends tired and eroded soil improving soil structure, increasing soil's water-holding capacity
  • Conditions the soil reducing the need for synthetic fertilizers

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