Lunch scraps go green at Dubuque school - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Lunch scraps go green at Dubuque school

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Students at Roosevelt Middle School compost their lunchtime table scraps Students at Roosevelt Middle School compost their lunchtime table scraps
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

One Dubuque middle school is putting its table scraps to a good and green use.

Roosevelt Middle School's new composting program has all of its more than 1,100 students reducing their landfill contributions.

Riley Nemec is a seventh grader at Roosevelt and also one of 25 student volunteers, all of whom help their fellow classmates sort the compostable materials from what goes in the trash.

"This is important because we need to save our environment, instead of throwing all of our trash and food into a landfill," Nemec said.

Language arts teacher Leah Specht is one of three teachers with the school's Sierra Society, which gets kids involved in environmentally-friendly initiatives around Roosevelt. Specht dubbed the lunchtime composting program volunteers, "composting sheriffs."

"They eat their lunch first so that they're ready to help the rest of the student body compost," she said.

Milk cartons, plastic utensils and other non-compostable items go in one bin. In the other container go all the compostable materials, including food and paper.

"After seeing, wow, this is going in our landfill and this is going to be turned into compost; seeing that difference- the visual is what always gets kids," Specht said.

Roosevelt is the district's first middle school to try a school-wide lunchtime composting program. It joins just a handful of schools in the Dubuque Community School District doing the same thing, including John F. Kennedy, Lincoln and Table Mound Elementary Schools.

"We're opening their eyes to all the benefits of composting," Specht said.

It's something she hopes students will carry with them the rest of their lives.

As for how Riley's peers are catching on to the program, he said, "I would give them an A+."

The City of Dubuque picks up the school's compost as part of its curbside food scrap recycling program. Dubuque is the first city in the state to offer such a program.

Residents and businesses of Dubuque and Delaware Counties can purchase that compost from the landfill. Call 563-557-8220 for more information.

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