Piloting a Compost Program in an Elementary School


A few months ago the two grade seven classes here at Pacific Way watched a series of Climate Action-themed Zooms, in order to inspire us to start a Climate action project. We then broke off into groups and came up with our ideas for a Climate Action project. Out of twelve groups that proposed their project ideas, we and one other group were chosen to go through with our project, after presenting to our class, and then voting on the best one. Since the city had recently started a composting program in residential areas, we thought we should start one at our school. Our idea was to have a compost container in each classroom, which would then be picked up by the city’s new program every week. The goal was to benefit the environment by reducing the amount of garbage we go through as a school.


We created a plan to go through with our project, but first we had to talk to the staff at our school. At the end of our presentation to the staff, we were able to hear their ideas, concerns, and feedback. After that we talked to the Superintendent of the district, Dr. Rhonda Nixon. She then allowed us to go through with the project, so now it was time to start. But first we had to talk to our school’s awesome janitor, Mrs. Yamelst. We learned from her that we go through about seventeen bags of garbage a day, and that’s when there are no special events or hot lunches. By the end of the week our outdoor, large dumpster is full. Then with the help of our lovely secretary Mrs. Macdonald, we created stickers using Cricut Design Space for our new garbage, and paper towel bins. We will be turning our old garbage bins into compostable paper towel bins, and we have bought new small garbage bins for the school. Then we cut out the stickers and stuck them on the bins to the best of our abilities. Next, we met with the EcoSmart team from the city and discussed our project ideas. They showed us the indoor compost bins and compostable liners they will be providing for us. We also discussed presentations for the classes at our school and looked at our stickers. We met with the EcoSmart team once more to finalize our project plan. Now it was finally time to hand out the bins and show our hard work to the rest of the school. Then we presented to each of the classes and taught them how to take care of the bins and how to compost properly. Now that the bins have been distributed, the composting can begin!

Reflection & Celebration

With our grant money, we plan to buy materials to build a shed that will house our outdoor compost bins. Our class will be putting the shed together with the help of local carpenter James Larsen. Throughout our time at PacificWay Elementary, we have seen a large amount of compostable waste being thrown in the garbage. We were inspired to start this project, because we felt that with the help of our community, we could impact the planet positively, by reducing the amount of garbage at our school. Since the city of Kamloops has provided us with almost all of the supplies, we have some extra money left over from our grant. We will be spending the leftover money on the pollinator garden. The pollinator garden is the result of a previous action project that started two years ago at Pacific Way. Due to a drought in the summer, the pollinator garden could not be watered, because of this most of the plants have unfortunately died. The leftover money will go towards buying new plants to refresh the pollinator garden. We hope to reduce the amount of waste at our school by at least fifty percent. The compost project will continue over the next year, and we hope to see it really take off.

UPDATE: We started with paper towel and are now composting organic wasted. We have had to order two more large bins from the city as we are already filing the four we had. In one week we have stopped five large bins from being brought t the landfill. We have also been asked to present our project to our City Council to teach them about what we have done and share how other schools could also try the program.


Check out our project video, here!

12. Responsible Consumption and Production
13. Climate Action
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