Westhill student launches composting project
STAMFORD — Westhill throws out trash cans full of organic waste each day that will inevitably end up in landfills.
Composting is a quick solution that will not only reduce the quantity of waste, but also give back to the environment by producing nutrient-rich soil that is ideal for plant growth.
Composting is a fairly simple process where organic waste such as fruit and vegetable scraps, wood waste and coffee grounds are separated into either a pile outdoors or into various bins. The organic matter will break down into nutrient-rich soil. Composting can be beneficial because the soil created is ideal for growing many types of plants, and can be cheaply produced while also reducing waste.
Josh Appel, a Westhill senior who is involved in the school’s agricultural science program, was inspired by his older brother’s independent study where he designed a four-bin composting system.
Appel decided to expand on his brother’s project by shaping his own independent study to focus on soil decomposition and sustainability. After learning about which types of soil are best for different agriculture, Appel brought what he learned into various AgriScience classrooms. Appel hoped to eventually produce enough soil to grow plants in the annual spring plant sale.
“My job is putting compost bins in teachers’ classrooms, and I am going to collect them and put [the waste] in the bins outside,” said Zac Kitay, class of 2020, who is working closely with Appel on his project. “I am interested in horticulture and [this project] seemed fun. I am probably going to take it over for him next year.”
Appel has placed small bins in various classrooms that will be collected and added to the four bin system located outside of the AgriScience building. The compost piles will then be turned once a week, and after a couple months moved to the next bin to start the cycle over again.
By separating the compost into various piles, it will speed up the overall process because if new material is added to the original pile, it would be forced to start the decomposition process over again.
Although Appel’s compost project is off to a rough start due to the cold weather, he hopes to soon be able to introduce large compost bins to the cafeterias to minimize food waste. In hopes of making composting a longterm fixture, Appel’s project involves creating a manual that will make it easy for future AgriScience students to maintain the composting project for years to come.
Caitilin Covello is a Westhill High student and writer for the school’s newspaper, The Westword.