Placid Earth: Student-Run Composter

In 2017 three in-vessel composters were funded through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Cleaner Greener Communities program. The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) secured NYSERDA funding for the systems. The initial model composter was built at North Country School Camp Treetops (NCT) in 2017 has been replicated at the three institutions, including at the Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid.

The Lake Placid Central School environmental club operates the composter at Shipman Youth Center and the unit is owned by the Lake Placid Central School District. The program provides valuable job experiences and career readiness training through a one-of-a-kind opportunity for hands-on, experiential learning in business management.

Students work with the school cafeteria and community at large to collect organic material, operate the composter, and distribute the end product. Their mission is to help Lake Placid provide a long term solution to a proportion of the community’s food waste by providing an organic waste recycling option for Lake Placid Central School District, area residents, and local businesses.

Food waste buckets are dropped off and collected for processing within the bucket shed.

Carbon, in the form of wood pellets, is added in a 1:4 ratio. One pound of pellets for every four pounds of food waste. The mixture is then added to the drum composter and rotated.

After roughly 30 days, compost emerges at the end of the drum composter. The compost is emptied into windrows and left to sit for 6 months, continuing to break down and de-acidify.

Students at Lake Placid High School offer subscriptions for households and businesses and all participants are provided with compost buckets for food waste transport. Subscriptions range from $20 – $120/month, depending on the average amount of weekly food waste generated by the subscriber.

The students have also elected to offer special event services so that weddings, sporting events, and other major events that produce large amounts of food waste can reinvest to food waste into local soils and support the school program in the process.

To become a Placid Earth compost subscriber, fill out a short form here:

AdkAction is Placid Earth’s fiscal sponsor. To learn more about Placid Earth, visit www.placidearth.org

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