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ARTS-Us is a non-profit organization that provides after school and summer programs dedicated to educating and guiding youth with hands-on activities.

Opportunity

ARTS-Us Garden Coordinator Roi Ward wanted to start an on-site composting program to recycle food waste generated through the after school and summer programs. The program would teach youth about reducing their environmental footprint, while reducing food waste in the trash stream.

Education is nothing new to Ward; his program provides after-school and summer programs for many students. These programs focus on subjects in agriculture, food, health, environment, invasive species, and now: composting and recycling.

How We Helped

Ward began researching potential options for funding his big idea. That’s when he found the BizRecycling program. They contacted us and we connected them with our Recycling Experts.

Ward worked with the Recycling Experts to apply for a BizRecycling Grant. The grant paid for the construction of an outdoor compost bin for yard waste, three “worm wigwams” to compost food scraps using red wiggler worms and new recycling bins and signage.

Starting a new composting program was not without obstacles and Ward found that out during their implementation phase. Ward and their team discovered that the worms could not process meat and dairy products. The team decided they would use a Japanese form of composting called Bokashi instead. This process uses a different mix to ferment food in the ground so it can be consumed by worms and later turned into compost.

Outcome

ARTS–Us is now composting all of their food waste, yard waste, and paper, which amounts to approximately 4,400 pounds a year. The end product is used to maintain a healthy garden.

“I’m really happy I found the [BizRecycling] grant program…by doing something good for the environment and using our own waste, we don’t have to buy any compost for our garden. We’re using what we have here. It’s kind of like the circle of life,” said Ward.

The success of the ARTS–Us program would not be possible without the dedication of the students and volunteers who have embraced the composting program and the learning opportunities it has provided.

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