Garbage to Garden Composting at NYA

My name is Xander Bartone, and I’m a senior here at NYA. I’m very excited to share that NYA is working with the Portland non-profit Garbage to Garden in order to compost our food waste and therefore improve our sustainability. I have always believed that it is important to help the environment, and as a senior, I wanted to implement a program that would help NYA even after I’ve graduated: Garbage to Garden is the perfect solution.

Garbage to Garden provides a curbside approach to composting that is simple and effective. Compostable food waste (including meat, bones, and paper products) is placed in the receptacles, and each week, the organization comes to collect this waste. The food scraps are then composted in large piles called “windrows,” where the high temperature and natural bacteria break down the waste. The soil that is produced is then returned to the school for use on our campus.

The composting process diverts food waste from landfills, reducing the amount of harmful methane gas that is released into the environment. Since landfill waste also results in the discharge of leachate, a contaminating liquid, lessening the levels of these hazardous substances will make a measurable difference on the environment.

In the first week of composting, the trash containers are noticeably emptier than they were in the past, and the abundance of composted items reveals the importance of this program. Without Garbage to Garden, this food waste would simply have been thrown away, but now, NYA will be able to compost literal tons of food waste. It’s exciting to know that the school will be a greener place in the years to come.