real_composting1Students at Wayside Schools have become the first charter school students in Austin to begin large-scale composting. Through the Wayside EcoWaste Initiative, more than 70% of cafeteria waste at Wayside Schools will now be sent to a local composting facility instead of local landfills.

Composting is a natural process where organic waste material – items such as food and paper – are decomposed over time to create rich soil called compost. Once these organic materials are placed in the compost bins in the cafeterias and taken to the outdoor containers, the materials are picked up by a commercial hauler and transported to a local composting facility.

Students and staff at Wayside: Eden Park Academy, Wayside: REAL Learning Academy, and Wayside: Sci-Tech Preparatory have already begun composting.  The final phase of the Wayside EcoWaste Initiative will rollout at Wayside: Altamira Academy at the beginning of next year.

“We’re very excited about the composting program,” says District Science Specialist, George Helfenstine. “Students are engaged in principled decision making, reducing their ecological footprint, and experiencing firsthand the impact of the food waste epidemic.”

The City of Austin has set a goal to become a ‘Zero-Waste’ city by 2040 and has established a Universal Recycling Ordinance (URO) to help ensure the goal is met.  As a recognized Austin Green Business Leader, Wayside Schools is dedicated to ensuring a sustainable future for our students and local Austinites.

To learn more about how you can get involved with Wayside’s sustainability efforts, contact Zac Ziebarth at