Composting is widely acknowledged to be one of the most positive actions we can take for the environment, and in many cases it can also save schools money. To learn more about the benefits and logistics of composting at school visit the compost page.
Composting is also a fantastic learning resource which can support many curriculum areas. Whether your focus is minibeasts, habitats, micro-organisms or global warming, composting can provide hands-on learning opportunities for pupils of all ages.
Traditional composting is popular in schools across the UK; Devon is leading the way with supporting schools to compost their cooked food waste as well as peels and cores. The guidance below will support schools wishing to start or improve its composting, as well as using it as a teaching tool.
It doesn't matter if you are a complete beginner, or a seasoned rotter; whether you have a 'state of the art' composter, or a neglected plastic 'Dalek' in the corner of the playground.
This handbook supports teachers to use composting as an inspiring teaching resource throughout the school year. For each month it contains a curriculum-linked KS2 lesson plan and an Eco Team activity, plus a wealth of supporting documents to bring composting to life for adults and pupils.
Click on the image below for a preview of selected pages from this exciting resource. If you work in a Devon School, email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a free hard copy of the handbook. (Numbers are restricted to one per school, two for larger primaries.) Alternatively download it straight away in an easy-to-read pdf format below.
'Composting in School: A practical guide to composting food waste' has been written for schools interesting in composting their cooked food waste as well as the usual cores and peels.
It explains the different types of composting equipment available; explores issues to consider before you purchase your composter; explains how to achieve the all-important balance of materials for successful composting; and suggests ways to involve the whole school in this ground-breaking form of composting.
Compost Videos - Meet the 'recycling minibeasts living in a compost bin', 'See seeds planted in compost grow into healthy plants' and 'sing along to the Compost Bin Song'.
Photo library - Download images of your council garden waste receptacles and other compost pictures. These can be used as part of a powerpoint, assembly presentation or poster.
What can go into a home composter game.
Since 2007, Devon County Council has trialled composting equipment suitable for cooked food and meat products in schools. Due to the differing sizes of schools in Devon, different capacities of composter were used to suit the amount of food waste the school produced. There are other composters available however, knowledge of the following systems has been gained over many years:
Jora 270 - smallest system (other stockists are available)
Ridan systems - these come in three sizes and are designed and built in North Devon
When the food waste has been through these systems it is only partly composted and not ready to be put on the land. It then needs to go into a maturation box to allow the food waste to compost properly until it is ready for use about 6-9 months later.
HotBox maturation system - this is a box 1m x 1m x 1m made from a double skin of recycled plastic. It is made in Chagford, Devon.
This system can be used to compost fruit waste and raw food from the kitchen. Read more details in the 'Composting in School: A practical guide' which can be downloaded above.
If you have deciduous trees in your school grounds, sweep up their fallen leaves in the autumn and turn them into lead mould, a nutrient-rich material used for potting or top dressing garden beds. Use these links for more information on making leafmould: