Two months have passed and provided us with plenty of challenges to overcome in our journey to becoming a more sustainable school. We have encountered all situations seemingly possible including but not limited to overfilling, overheating, excess of one food group, or an inadequate ratio of water to paper products to food waste. We are currently in the process of developing an equation that will allow us to figure the ideal approximate amount of additional water to be added to a container of food waste based upon its content. For example, days where the load consists of primary fruits and vegetables, especially ones with high water content, we only add half a gallon or so. On days where dense carbohydrates and fats outweigh the vegetables and fruits, we add paper products to absorb some of the fats as well as several gallons of water. While our equation is still on the chalkboards, everyday is a learning experience that helps us sharpen our critical thinking skills all the while learning more about the machine and its impact on our lives.
Only several weeks after the installation of the Ecovim, we were able to integrate Barnstable High School’s special education department by training teachers and students. They have been successful with their compost efforts and are helping to ensure the longevity of the compost project by passing on their knowledge and experiences. The benefit of integrating these students with special needs is it provides an additional job skill as some of them may seek employment in the real world soon. Green jobs and training skills such as one involving the Ecovim machine are impressive and increasing in our society. Laws are being passed that force establishments to be more thoughtful and green when it comes to the disposal of their food waste. Students are engaged and provided the experience to see the miraculous transformation of thrown out food to a fertile soil amendment that resembles coffee grounds. They learn the impacts of their personal choices on human and environmental health while having access to activities that include the soil amendment. These students’ involvement in the project and their willingness to step up to the plate with a moments notice has been inspirational, as well as incredibly helpful.
While this category is still a work in progress, our goal is to improve the entire student body’s participation and awareness. As the president of Barnstable High School’s first ever National Green Schools Society Chapter, we have established several goals for the year as well as long term goals. One of which is to increase and promote environmental literacy through programs with the purpose of informing and engaging students. So far, we have interview for the local television station, the school television station, and for Insight, the student run newspaper. Well over 1,000 pounds of food waste has been processed through the machine so far rather than it being disposed of into a landfill. Day by day, we are working with the students and staff to increase participation in the compost project while increasing awareness of our currently unsustainable culture. Every nine hour cycle in the Ecovim machine is one more footstep forward in our green journey.
Daily food waste sample from the child development wing:
approximately 29 pounds/day day
Ecovim byproduct: sample of the fertile soil amendment before the coloring and consistency noticeably darkened
Ecovim 66 machine installed at Barnstable High School!