The Benefits of Classroom Composting

aka worms are underappreciated

by: Judy

I have a passion for composting and caring for the environment. Properly disposing of waste is so important, but so often is overlooked. There are simple things that people can do to help make a big difference. One person who has taught me a lot about composting and how to dispose of waste, is my teacher Mrs. Mikelsteins.

I interviewed my teacher Mrs. Mikelsteins about composting in the classroom and why she thinks it’s important. Below you will find a summary of our conversation and what has been learned throughout the program. 

Why she thinks this program is effective:

• Composting in the classroom reduces the amount of waste that goes to the landfill

• Composting recycles nutrients

• Composting is really useful because it helps save money. When a truck picks up garbage to bring to the landfill, it costs approximately $1,000 dollars every time 

• If there is less garbage costs will be reduced overall


 Has she learned anything interesting along the way?

• She has learned that kids who hated worms at least learned to respect them

• The class found out what worm egg sacs/eggs look like

• You can only feed the worms with plant-based material (vermicomposting)

• If you have animal products, it may attract meat-lovers/haemovores if it’s put outside in regular composting

• Something that isn’t as commonly known, is that you must stir once in a while or else it will not compost well-for outside composting

• Worms don’t have skin and they are extremely moist, which means they are very susceptible to chemicals (e.g. hand soap, hand cream etc.) So when you touch them, the pain is like when you scrape your knee and then you put salt on it! This may cause distress to the worms after being touched by a human

• Do not overfeed worms

• Avoid putting in citrus peels-worms don’t handle that well


Some problems that she’s encountered:

• Had too many vermicomposters

• Tried to find someone who would take them for the summer and take the rest home

• Found difficult to keep bins fed and students’ families were too keen and overfed them, which made the soil less pleasant to work with  


What did she have to do to get this program implemented into this school?  

• Only had to get a bin with a lid so she could make holes in them and borrow a handful of worms from an established vermicomposter and a newspaper to tear up 

• Needed principal and caretaker’s permission


Does she think people should use this program in their homes? 

• Yes, every backyard should have a backyard composter and every apartment should have a vermicomposter 

• Benefits of having a vermicomposter at home-would give you an excellent and nutritious soil without having to buy at stores

• Reduces waste that has to be sent to a landfill

• Helps reduce the number of waste you have in your green bin

• Returns nutrients back to soil

• Gives you the best and non-toxic soil to put in your backyard/pots


How was it dealing with the worms at first?

• No problem at all

• Students: saw her handling them, got used to the idea, so they also had no problem/they even became interested afterwards

• Never really failed at composting


How does the composting system work?

• Worms, bugs, bacteria, fungi etc. break down materials-when finished, it turns into nice soil

• Soil = worm poop. It is the best soil to put in pots/background

• Worm poop is non-chemical + non-toxic


Maybe next year you could consider worm composting in YOUR classroom! 


Judy is an aspiring journalist and this year's Barbie #YouCanBeAnything winner, and we are proud to have her here as a guest contributor at!



Judy is the 2018 Barbie #YouCanBeAnything winner and an aspiring journalist.