Hanover High School is working toward developing regenerative systems that improve the health of the ecosystems upon which humans depend. Our compost program is one example of this effort in which the nutrients in food waste are used to improve soil quality rather than being disposed of in a landfill. We currently have buckets in 32 classrooms around the school since students often eat lunch during class rather than in a cafeteria. Student volunteers collect compost in paper bag lined bins, replace the paper bags, and then place the food scraps and paper bag in totes biweekly. Grow Compost of Vermont collects the compost and turn it into a valuable soil amendment.
It is very important to compost as it keeps soil nutrients in a cycle. In order to grow our food, phosphorus is an absolutely necessary element. Currently, phosphorus is mined from the ground to get this vital element. During the compost process, the food scraps break down and the soil amendment returns the phosphorus to the soil reducing the need for more phosphorus mining. HHS prevented 17,200 lbs of food scraps from going to the landfill during 2018 as shown in the certificate below from Grow Compost of Vermont.
Hanover High School's Environmental Club works with Buildings and Grounds to manage a collection of recyclables. Every Tuesday during Advisory Lunch, ENV Club students collect recycling throughout the school and we also receive the recycling bins from the advisories and remove trash from recycling bins. with bins located throughout the classrooms and hallways. Students bring the recycling bins each week from their classrooms to the Recycling dumpster, where one Common Ground sorts through the bins and empties them.
Every fourth year, the Environmental Club organizes a "Trash On The Lawn Day" (TOTL), in which one day's worth of the school's trash and recycling is spread out on a tarp in front of the school. Students from each science class visit the event and help sort out of the trash that should have been composted and recycled. The Environmental Club continues to work toward educating the HHS community on the importance of separating recyclable and compostable food scraps in an effort to close our waste loop. Students have created video's, and visited common grounds and the 9th grade social studies classes to explain what is recyclable or compostable at HHS. Below is data collected by students from previous TOTL events. Our next TOTL Day is scheduled for April 2020.