Eco Schools use Ridan Composters

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Colyton Grammar’s Ridan composter

Colyton Grammar School is a mixed selective secondary school located in rural East Devon with 819 students and grounds in excess of 18 acres.

As a school of conscientious, environmentally-aware students, we at Colyton really appreciate the value of being able to reduce our waste output. We are constantly aiming to become more sustainable: the addition of the Ridan composter to our waste system has greatly contributed. The bonus of compost for use on our grounds very much contributes to the pride that students here take in the school: a significant part of Colyton’s atmosphere is lent to it by the green spaces and flower beds that are prominent across the site.” – Y11 student and member of the Green Society.

Quantity of food waste going into the Ridan:  86kg/week, approx. 200 litres per week

Saving in food waste collections (cost/month): 33 bin lifts (240litre bins) approximately £100

Quantity of compost produced: six maturation bins per year, approximately 5400 litres

Cost saving in compost: £400

Did you get any grants or LA support?:  “Cutting your wasteline” grant from Devon County Council £1000, Parents’ Association provided £500.

How have the students been involved?:  Students have been involved from the inception of the idea to reduce the waste produced by the school and to model sustainable living.  The journey started with a waste audit of a day’s worth of rubbish from all areas of the school. Students sorted and weighed all the waste and from this audit we developed an action plan where we tackled the issues of plastic bottles and paper waste.

After taking actions to improve school practices we conducted a second waste audit which showed us that the largest volume of waste was now coming from our school canteen in the form of plate waste. The “Green Society” was then involved with fact finding and planning for the composter. We went to visit a primary school that already had a Ridan composter to see how it worked. Once the Ridan was purchased the students acted again to run an information campaign and whole school assemblies to inform the rest of the school how things would work with food waste collection and the production of compost.

Have you integrated composting into the curriculum:  It is perhaps a little harder to integrate composting into the secondary curriculum but we have endeavoured to incorporate it into our schemes of work. Here are a couple of examples:

  • in Biology the students use the composter as a case study and then go onto design their perfect compost
  • in Geography we use the schools efforts to be more sustainable and composting in particular as an example of climate change mitigation, reducing the amount of food waste going to landfill and hence not producing methane.