South Portland High School, located in Cumberland County Maine, has recently begun reducing their food waste through composting and other methods.

The high school began the process of reducing food waste at the beginning of the 2014 school year. The ecology class went about encouraging students to waste their food properly and they had begun a composting system.

The students realized that they were tossing away 139 lbs. of cafeteria food away daily, on average. Now within three months, they have diverted over 4,000lbs of food waste from being tossed away in the trash. The food waste has been used for the school’s gardens.

The new composting program has also saved the city money when it comes to trash pickup and disposal. All of this progress has been made after the students in the ecology class paired with Garbage to Garden, a local composting company. Garden to Garbage has a plant in Maine in which they turn trash to energy and perform local curbside composting pickups. The students and the company have been collaborating on a sustainable recycling program.

Since January, the school has diverted over 2,000 lbs. per month from going into the landfill. The ecology class has really put forth a lot of effort into keeping their waste from going to the landfill. They have even begun recycling and keeping to the garden themselves. Right now, they are trying to come up with more ways of becoming sustainable as well as educating other students on ways they can help as well. The classroom is really taking this seriously and their teacher couldn’t be more proud.

Proper waste disposal is crucial, especially with food waste. According to the EPA, over 36 million lbs of food were disposed of in 2012. This number is drastic and can be avoided if more people were willing to learn of recycling and composting methods.