USAGE AND COMPOSTING OF RESIDUE SCHOOL FOOD
Slovenian mentor: Mitja Močilar, OŠ Anton Martin Slomšek Vrhnika
Students: Glamočak Zala, Potrebuješ Tine, Maklin Jakob, and Rožmanc Nace
Turkish mentor: Mübeccel YETİŞKİN
Students: Uras Solmaz, Erben Tekten, Aylin Simirna Turan, Melis Aysukan Ünsal, Naz Kırmacı
In our school, we teamed up with a Turkish primary school to explore what we can do with wasted food. Our first goal was to find out how much food gets wasted each year. Then we focused on reusing the food that can’t be composted and the food that can be composted. The Turkish students worked with the company that makes food for pets and they turnd non-biodegradable food into small blocks called briquettes. They used these briquettes to feed the animals at their school. At our school we have a project, where we want to use as much food as possible and turn it into hummus. We asked the schook kitchen how much leftover food goes into the compost bin every week because after a few years it turns into hummus. We also added Californian worms to speed up the process. We calculated how much hummus we make in a year. With this hummus we can fertilize our raised beds and nurseries where we are growing vegetables. Our aim is to figure out how much of the food we throw away can be replaced through our project.
Collaboration with Turkish pupils.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
World food wasting:
Every year, huge amounts of food is wasted in the word. According to estimates, approximately one-third of the world’s food is wasted each year, totally around 1.3 billion tons of food. This is particularly problematic because there are still over 821 million people in the world who suffer from hunger, which is one in nine people. At the same time, valuable natural resources such as water, energy, and land that were used to produce food are also wasted with the discarded food. Therefore, it is important to reduce the amount of wasted food and ensure that food reaches those who need it.
Composting is a natural process in which microorganisms break down organic materials. It offers several benefits because it helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, where it produces greenhouse gasses. Compost is also an excellent source of nutrients for plants and helps improve soil structure, increase water retention capacity, and reduce erosion. Additionally, composting helps to maintain biological diversity and reduces the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Benefits of Californian worms:
Californian worms, also called red worms, are often used in composting. By using Californian worms we can decrease the amount of waste that goes to landfills and gain a valuable fertilizer for our gardens and plants. These worms make composting happen faster. That’s why composting with Californian worms can take only a few weeks or months, instead of many months or even years.
Using Californian worms
At the Anton Martin Slomšek Primary School in Vrhnika, we have four wooden raised beds.
1. In Slovenia, vegetables for sale on the market are grown on 9 m² of land per person (source: SURS 2017). For every square metre of agricultural land, approximately 5 kg of vegetables are grown.
2. Our largest raised bed is located in the school atrium and has a hexagonal shape. It measures 3.73 metres on each side. To calculate the surface area of the hexagonal raised bed, we used a formula. The total surface area of the hexagonal bed in our atrium is approximately 35.5 square metres.
3. The large rectangular raised bed has sides of approximately 2.10 meters and 1.50 metres. By using the formula for a rectangle, we found that the surface area of the large rectangular raised bed is approximately 12.3 square metres.
4. We also have two smaller rectangular raised beds with sides measuring approximately 1.96 meters and 0.95 meters. Using the formula for a rectangle, the surface area of the smaller rectangular raised beds is approximately 2 * 1.86 square metres, which is approximately 3.7 square meters. The total surface area of the raised beds at our school is approximately 35.5 square meters + 12.3 square meters + 3.7 square meters, which equalls 51.5 square metres.
Composting and taking measurements
Composting at our school
At our school, the Anton Martin Slomšek Primary School, we have a special bin where we compost biodegradable organic waste. In one year, we obtain approximately 200 litres of compost. At the school, we mainly collect fruit peels and scraps, as well as vegetables that we can’t use and put them in the compost bin.
The amount of compost that we produce annually at Anton Martin Slomšek Primary School Vrhnika is sufficient for an area of 2 meters times 2 meters with a thickness of 0.05 meters (5 centimetres). With the compost we produce at our school, we can grow vegetables on 4 square metres of surface. According to Slovenian conditions and ability, we grow 5 kg of vegetables per 1 m (data from SURS 2017). So, at our school, we can grow about 20 kg of vegetables every year on our 4 square meters area.
The collaboration with the Turkish primary school was really successful! We got to communicate through zoom meetings and Whats Apps groups. Our goal was to be as eco-friendly as possible and to turn wasted food into mineral substances that would enrich our soil in the school garden or directly into food for animals. Both of our schools came up with some interesting results and new ideas and we learned a lot about reducing food waste.