Friday, October 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Successful school composting program going districtwide

Ximena Jackson, left, helps students at César Chávez Elementary School find the right bins for composting and recycling. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

By
From page A4 | August 04, 2012 |

Half-eaten sandwiches, orange rinds, straws, empty yogurt cups, apple cores, baggies, plastic spoons — the stuff of school lunches, or at least the remains of them. And for many years, all of it ended up lumped together in garbage cans destined for the landfill.

Davis students have been separating the plastic and paper from everything else for quite a while now. And last year, students at César Chávez Elementary School went even further, reducing the total daily lunchtime garbage produced by the district’s largest elementary school to half of a single garbage can. Everything else — the food scraps, paper, napkins, milk and juice cartons and plastic containers — ended up recycled or composted.

With a row of small garbage cans lined up not far from the lunch tables — each can labeled in both English and Spanish as well as with pictures of what belongs in each — students sorted their leftover food in one, milk and juice cartons in another, plastic in a third and all unrecycled plastic and containers in a fourth. Cardboard lunch trays were neatly piled at the end for paper recycling.

The ALL Compost pilot program enabled the school to reduce their garbage pickup from two large bins emptied three times a week to one large bin emptied twice a week, saving hundreds of dollars every month.

Overseen by the school district’s DavisRISE coordinator Ximena Jackson, the pilot project at Chávez was supposed to last just five weeks last year. But so successful was ALL Compost at reducing the amount of garbage produced, the program ended up continuing all year. And beginning on the first day of school this year, the program expanded to all Davis elementary schools.

Jackson, who also serves as library technician at Chávez, was joined by Davis Farm to School’s Dorothy Peterson in training all of the schools’ custodians in the ALL Compost process before school started. Farm to School created the DavisRISE program — which stands for Recycling is Simply Elementary — and it has since become a school district program. Other major partners include Davis Waste Removal and the city of Davis.

Jackson herself has been making the rounds of school sites, helping solve problems that have cropped up and tailoring the program to each school site. If all schools succeed at reducing their garbage collection like Chávez did, the school district will save thousands of dollars, Jackson said.

Not only that, they will have the satisfaction of knowing they are sending far less to the landfill, and far more to compost, she noted.

Of course, success will be measured differently at each school. While Chávez has the most students in the district, the school wouldn’t necessarily produce the most garbage. Title I schools that serve breakfast, for example, will produce more garbage, as will schools that serve more free- and reduced-price lunches that contain multiple individually packaged items.

During lunch one day at Chávez last week, Jackson supervised as students separated their waste. Some were little pros, quickly tossing plastic spoons and straws in one bin, leftover food in another, milk cartons in a third before racing off to play. Others moved more slowly, carefully studying the pictures on the cans first to make sure everything ended up where it was supposed to. Jackson, meanwhile, or one of her student volunteers, stood ready with the garbage claw to pull out anything that ended up in the wrong place.

They’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly, Jackson said. But every year means starting over again, with a new batch of first-graders to train, and the older students out of practice.

“They get to sixth grade and forget everything,” she laughed.

Still, they did so well at Chávez last year they were rewarded for their efforts with a Radio Disney performance at school. This year, all of the elementary schools will be competing for a reward — a special nature assembly for the school that reduces the most by December, and possibly another Radio Disney assembly up for grabs at the end of the year.

Jackson said she’s confident all of the schools will be as successful as Chávez. All it takes, she said, is good teamwork among the custodial staff, lunchtime supervisors, school administration and, of course, the students.

But there’s only so much that team can do. The unrecyclable waste that children bring from home — from the sandwich baggies to the empty packages of Pirate’s Booty or cheese crackers — still ends up in the landfill.

Last year, Jackson said, as part of a project with Chávez science teachers, students counted all those unrecyclable bags. Then fourth-graders wrote letters to parents asking them to use reusable containers instead.

“We saw a difference, but then you have to start all over again each year,” Jackson said.

Learn more about DavisRISE and Farm to School by visiting http://www.davisfarmtoschool.org. To volunteer for the ALL Compost program, contact Ximena Jackson at xdiezy@aol.com.

— Reach Anne Ternus-Bellamy at aternus@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8051. Follow her on Twitter at @ATernusBellamy

Comments

comments

Anne Ternus-Bellamy

.

News

A-Z: Downtown Davis is the place to celebrate

By Kimberly Yarris | From Page: C1

 
Courageous Thompson tapped for cycling shrine

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UC researchers: How low-water can our landscapes go?

By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Testimony begins in Winters murder trial

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Hong Kong protesters to vote on staying in streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Yoga and chanting workshop planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Downtown menu: coffee, boba tea, dessert

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: C3

 
Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Scientists work to save endangered desert mammal

By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Host families needed for students and teachers from Mexico

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Halloween Dance set Friday for teens

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Enjoy A Taste of Capay at historic ranch

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Red-hot tunes set at Blues Harvest

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Learn how to fill a cornucopia with flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Video highlights Props. 1 and 2

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
‘Homeopathy at Home’ program planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Celebrate origami at Davis library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Garden sale and open house features water-wise demos

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C4

Meet Poppenga at dog park Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bay Bridge art project needs $4 million to keep shining

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Weir honored, a year early

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
For a good cause

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A6

Americans, internationals make connections

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Explorit: Poison-proof your home with free lecture

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6

Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
School board hopefuls discuss homework policy

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A7

Walkers welcome to join Sierra Club outings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The magic is long gone

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
What’s next with Ebola?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

More theories on the abstention

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Rights beget responsibilities

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Water returns to its source

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
A solution to the drought

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Experience nature’s treasures

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Subs have other concerns

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

.

Sports

DHS footballers take on Pleasant Grove

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
Bye No. 2 comes at perfect time for nicked-up UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Shhh. Are Aggie women BWC’s best-kept secret?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Bump, set, playoffs: Blue Devil girls clinch spot in postseason

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Aggies expect a bonny meeting in Sacramento

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Preseason awards roll in for Aggie hoopster Hawkins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks suffer from road woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

.

Features

.

Arts

DMTC plans ‘My Fair Lady’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra to perform

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Calling all artists for upcoming show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘St. Vincent:’ Quite a character

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Rumpledethumps to play at Village Homes Performers’ Circle

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

 
Car Care: Five things to ask yourself when shopping for a new vehicle

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B7

.

Obituaries

Lewis Melvin Dudman

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Ann Foley Scheuring

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, October 24, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B3