It can be difficult to get things really happening at the school or relatively simple; it all depends on some key factors being in place:
· The whole school community really needs to support the initiative.
· Children and staff in the school need to have some compost training so that everyone understands the key concepts of composting.
· The kitchen staff have to be willing to separate out the compostable materials and not put plastics and other rubbish in the compost caddy bins.
· Each classroom needs caddies for fruit break waste and tuck shop waste and the children have to understand exactly what they can put in the caddies to go to the compost bins
· A ‘eco’ or ‘little rotters’ team needs to be set up to do the day to day work of emptying these caddies – see www.littlerotters.org.uk for a free useful pack
· Key staff members need to be able to champion the scheme and do quite a bit of work. Ideally their contracts will be altered so they are given paid time to look after the compost system.
· Schools ideally need funding for the composting equipment and its set up. Composting equipment suitable for food waste composting is expensive e.g set up cost for a Jora 270 and Hot Box is £775 or more. In Devon the Local Authority will also support the scheme financially. contact DCCN co-ordinator for more information.
· There must be suitable areas for both the composting and the subsequent use of the finished compost.
· There must be a good supply of sawdust, woodchip or shredded hedge prunings etc so that food waste can be blended with carbon in the best form to make the compost properly. (e.g. woodchip and freshly cut grass blended 50/50 makes a wonderful amendment and can often solve the problem of what to do with the grass cuttings – it may be necessary to buy in the woodchip, but often the local Council can oblige or a parent/governor may have a supply of shredded green waste or chippings. Only use sawdust from sources using 100% untreated wood, preferably softwood and avoid sawdust made from materials like MDF as it will contain some pretty nasty noxious substances