Doctors lift lid on school compost bins

The County Council's School Waste Action Club's 'doctors' visited Clarborough to give the compost bins at Clarborough Primary School an annual check-up  (w110504-6b)
The County Council's School Waste Action Club's 'doctors' visited Clarborough to give the compost bins at Clarborough Primary School an annual check-up (w110504-6b)
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SPECIAL compost doctors visited two local schools this week to check on the ‘health’ of their compost bins.

Lydia Powles and Alice Stechly from Notts County Council’s Schools Waste Action Club (SWAC) went to Clarborough Primary and Carr Hill Primary and Nursery to see how effective their compost bins are being.

Schools which have started composting are looking for a clean bill of health as the doctors visit them for their annual check-up for Compost Awareness Week - 1st-7th May.

The doctors have been diagnosing any problems with poor compost and issue prescriptions to help the compost make a full recovery.

“It’s part of an ongoing campaign by the county council to raise awareness among school children of the benefits of recycling their organic waste into a useful garden product,” said Richard Butler, the county council’s cabinet member for environment and sustainability.

“And at the same time, this reduces the amount of waste sent to landfill where it would otherwise rot to produce the greenhouse gas methane.”

Since the project began in 2001, Notts SWAC team has successfully worked with over 250 primary, secondary and special schools helping them to reduce, reuse and recycle their waste.

Typical treatment prescribed by the compost doctors includes:

Adding in more ‘green’ items such as fruit skins and cores, teabags and raw vegetable wast, putting in more ‘brown’ items including shredded paper and torn up cardboard, pouring in a can of water when the contents look a bit dry, giving the compost a good stir with a broom handle or garden fork to let some air inside, moving the compost bin to allow easier access for pupils, relocating the bin to a sunnier spot and replacing or repairing the bin lid to keep unwelcome visitors out and the heat in.

SWAC’s Alice Stechly said: “This is another way of getting children interested in recycling from a young age and hopefully they will take what they learn home to share with their families.”

“Over a third of the waste in household wheelie bins could be recycled into a rich organic compost which is an environmentally-friendly alternative to artificial fertilisers and peat, now a dwindling resource.”

For more information about composting, visit www.recyclefornottinghamshire.org.uk/index/compostcorner.