Urbana High School improves the environment with Composting Program


Jess Kilgore, Reporter

Urbana High School has started a composting program to reduce the amount of waste our school produces. Urbana is the only high school in Frederick County to have a composting program like this. The program is led by Mrs. McCook and her AP Environmental Science students.

In an interview with The Hawkeye, Mrs. McCook described how “the composting project began as a combination program between the Environmental Science students and and the Learning for Life students with Mr. Smith.” The program originally started by the custodians setting up different bins for composting, trash, recycling, and liquids. The Learning for Life students in 4th block would then empty these bins at the end of the day. Mrs. McCook explained that “the overall goal of this program is to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill.” To do this, students must separate the composting, recycling, and liquids from the trash so it doesn’t get shipped to the landfill.

This composting program involves the entire school in being more conscious about how we dispose of trash. Students can help out by making sure they recycle waste such as paper bags, plastic bottles, and aluminum soda cans in the blue recycling bins. Liquids can also be dumped in the orange liquid container to allow for more items to be recycled. For compost, any leftover food and non-recyclable paper, such as used napkins, can be placed in the compost bin. Doing these simple things allows the school to reduce the amount of trash it collects and increase the amount of composting.

The composting is brought weekly to a composting facility in West Virginia through the help of Key City Compost, which is a compost collecting service based in Frederick. This service unfortunately costs money, so the composting program hopes to reduce the amount of trash by enough to cover the cost of the composting.

Mrs. McCook expressed how another one of her goals was for students to remove more than 50% of the waste they used to throw away. When students separate the recycling and composting from the trash, the weight and volume of the trash is greatly reduced. This means that much of the waste thrown away could be composted or recycled.

The Environmental Science students even did a waste sort which means that they dumped out a trash bag and sorted the waste into compost, recycling, liquids and trash. Mrs. McCook reported how “every single group found that over 70% of waste that was in their trash bag should not have been there.” This means that the composting program’s goal of diverting 50% of our trash from the landfill is attainable.

With the help of the entire student and staff body, this composting initiative could continue to grow and have an impact on not only Urbana High School, but the whole Frederick County community. If this program is successful at Urbana it could potentially spread to other high schools in the county. Therefore, it could greatly reduce the amount of waste schools produce as a whole and reduce the growing amount of trash dumped at the landfill everyday.