Reading, MA — A pilot program to compost food waste in the Reading schools started on January 11 at Birch Meadow Elementary School, running on Wednesdays at the 4th-5th grade lunch. Among the students leading the way are teacher Beth Slater’s 5th-grade class (pictured here with Ms. Slater, middle row, right). Cheering them on are Dr. Steve Burnham (Birch Meadow Principal; front left) and (L-R back row) Heather Leonard (STEM Curriculum Coordinator), Karen Herrick (Reading Select Board member), and Anne Mark and Susan Bowe (members of Reading Composts!).
Reading Composts! is a Reading volunteer group that informs about the benefits of food-waste composting and encourages curbside pickup of food scraps. The group’s January 2022 proposal for a food-waste-composting pilot in the schools was enthusiastically taken up by School Superintendent Thomas Milaschewski, Dr. Burnham, and Ms. Leonard, and after discussions and careful planning among stakeholders, the pilot is underway. Food scraps are picked up and composted by Black Earth Compost of Gloucester, MA, which also services 426 residential subscribers in Reading.