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Marcellus school cafeterias begin cutting-edge compost program

Cafeteria waste at Marcellus will be turned into this nutrient-rich mulch by the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency.

Cafeteria waste at Marcellus will be turned into this nutrient-rich mulch by the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency. Laura Ryan

— “If you think about what goes into the trash container – after you’ve already taken out all the recyclable stuff you put in the blue bin at home – what’s left? Food. That’s pretty much all that’s left,” said Brenda Mickol, education solutions representative for Waste Management. “And now that will be composted.”

Students will be encouraged to participate in the program, in part, by promotional posters and flyers created by students in Heidi Busa’s 12th-grade environmental studies class at Marcellus High School. Students in the class also took part in a contest to design the best PowerPoint presentation about the program. The winner, to be selected by Watkins, will receive a solar-powered backpack provided by Waste Management.

“Composting is supposed to save the school a lot of money,” said Grace Carlic, 18, a senior. “But the most important part is it’s eco-friendly. We’re not filling up the landfill. We’re enriching the earth instead of poisoning it.”

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