Rocket Lands in Chatham Township: Township Food Composting Program Leads the Nation

on Apr 13, 2011

Upcoming Ribbon Cutting Ceremony: Wed. April 13, 2011 The Chatham Township Environmental Commission plans an unveiling of the Rocket Composter: Wednesday April 13, 2011, at the township’s high school at 3pm. Contact the Chatham Township Environmental Commission for additional information: ctec@chathamtownship.org or call the Chatham Township Municipal Office (973) 635-4600 and leave a message for Pat Collington, Environmental Commissioner

Chatham Township, NJ: Recognized as first of its kind in the nation, the Chatham Township's "Food Composting Program" is set apart from other composting programs because of its three key ingredients. The Chatham Township Environmental Commission integrates the composting efforts of the residents, community organizations and schools, provides educational composting outreach that links everyone in the community to the program, and employs the use of a Rocket® Composter

Back in 2009, the township’s Environmental Commission introduced their food composting program, known locally as “Save it To Spade it,” and invited the School District of The Chathams to join in the program. By April 2010, the township was running free composting workshops for residents, teachers, and other members of the community, and also offered low cost, “backyard” composters. Today, residents, schools, Scouts, local Master Gardeners and other organizations have the “backyard” composters in use. 

To enable the public schools to compost school-food waste, the Chatham Township Environmental Commission
purchased a Rocket® Composter for the School District of The Chathams. The township’s Commission applied for
a Sustainable Jersey™ Grant and was awarded $25,000 for its unique food composting program. The grant money
paid for the Rocket® Composter, composting programs for Chatham Township residents, and for educational
materials for the schools and township residents.

First in New Jersey--the township high school will be first public school in New Jersey to use a Rocket®
Composter. School food waste, from three of the six schools in the district, can be composted in just 14 days.
The resulting rich, dark compost (known as “black gold”) will be used on school grounds.

Composting reduces the amount of waste that needs to be hauled away to a landfill and reduces the cost of such
waste removal. In addition, on-site school food composting eliminates the need to pay a composting vendor to
remove food waste and school use of the compost reduces expensive school landscaping costs.

This spring, the Chatham Township Environmental Commission will run another free educational workshop on
composting and offer some free “backyard” composters to Chatham Township residents. Hmmm—getting your
hands on some “black gold”--what better way is there to learn about the economic and environmental benefits of
composting?

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