Posts Tagged ‘composting’

Some school districts are pushing the envelope on recycling.

Michael Wines wrote for the NY Times in December, “Nothing seemed special about the plates from which students at a handful of Miami schools devoured their meals for a few weeks last spring — round, rigid and colorless, with four compartments for food and a fifth in the center for a carton of milk.

“Looks, however, can be deceiving: They were the vanguard of what could become an environmental revolution in schools across the United States.

“With any uneaten food, the plates, made from sugar cane, can be thrown away and turned into a product prized by gardeners and farmers everywhere: compost. If all goes as planned, compostable plates will replace plastic foam lunch trays by September not just for the 345,000 students in the Miami-Dade County school system, but also for more than 2.6 million others nationwide.

“That would be some 271 million plates a year, replacing enough foam trays to create a stack of plastic several hundred miles tall. …

“Compostable plates are but the first initiative on the environmental checklist of the Urban School Food Alliance, a pioneering attempt by six big-city school systems to create new markets for sustainable food and lunchroom supplies.” More here.

Apart from what the initiative does for school budgets, what it does for the environment, just think how educators are setting an example for children about working to find solutions to problems. Impressive.

Photo: Joshua Bright for The New York Times
Kindergartners in Manhattan being served lunch on plates made from sugar cane, which are expected to replace plastic foam trays next year in six districts.

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Last week when I posted about my visit to start-up incubator Mass Challenge, I said I wanted to learn more about 2012 finalist Bootstrap Compost, a Boston-area composting business.

Jessica Ilyse Kurn, of PRI radio show Living on Earth, recently interviewed Bootstrap Compost founder Andy Brooks.

“KURN: The idea of helping the community was his inspiration, and he had another motivation. A college grad, Brooks was getting frustrated after searching endlessly for jobs.

“BROOKS: After like relying on this cruel economy of applying and cover letters and resumes and interviews, and nothing was going anywhere for like two years, and I was, like, forget it, I gotta do something for myself, and the whole notion of, like, picking myself up.

“KURN: And so Bootstrap Compost was born. Brooks says there are many reasons why he loves helping urbanites compost.

“BROOKS: When people ask me that question, it’s like someone saying, ‘Why do you like Star Wars? Or why are the Beatles good?’ I get dizzy. Like, there’s so many reasons. The way that interests me is like — what are the challenges that we face being a disposable society?

“KURN: Brooks puts on his helmet, and jumps on his souped-up bicycle – complete with a custom-made trailer that tags behind. Such a setup couldn’t have been designed for anything other than a nomadic compost business. …

“BROOKS: When you throw out your banana peels into the trash, that to me is insulting to all the resources that went into growing those things initially. The end product is just treated like refuse, but it shouldn’t be – it still harbors this immense energy to be used for good, and to go back into the cycle of growing.”


Photograph of Andy Brooks: Living on Earth

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In the Greenway area where Occupy Boston camped last fall, there is now a demonstration garden. It includes raised beds of edible plants, a rain garden to capture run-off, and examples of urban composting. It’s a teaching garden.

Also in Dewey Square are food trucks, such as this Bon Me truck, which offers great Vietnamese lunches.

Around the block, in Fort Point Channel, the first of two Boston Tea Party Ships has arrived and has docked next to the new Boston Tea Party Museum.





























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