Food to Flowers food waste composting program

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Food to Flowers helps schools in Thurston County set up systems to compost food waste and food-soiled paper from cafeterias, and to improve their overall waste reduction and recycling efforts. This includes working with school districts to design meal programs to be as waste-free as possible. For example, the program helps schools implement changes like replacing disposable plastic utensils with durable flatware, eliminating the use of straws, and replacing condiment packets with bulk dispensers.

Food to Flowers is available to both public and private elementary, middle, and high schools in Thurston County.

The benefits

There are many benefits to launching a Food to Flowers program at your school. They include:

  • Reducing costs – A comprehensive waste prevention, recycling and composting program can significantly lower your school’s total garbage and recycling collection costs
  • Protecting the environment – Recycling and composting saves energy and water, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and conserves resources and landfill space
  • Fostering environmental stewardship - Changing lunchroom habits provides students the opportunity to learn how to be more responsible citizens and environmental stewards
  • Creating student leadership opportunities – Planning and participating in school recycling and composting programs provides students with a wide variety of leadership opportunities ranging from organizing a green team to serving as a sort-line volunteer.

How it works

Thurston County can help your school launch and sustain a successful Food to Flowers program. We provide technical assistance and helpful supplies, including collection containers and signs.

Students at Food to Flowers schools sort their food and soiled paper leftovers into various bins for composting and recycling. The organic materials are then sent to Silver Springs Organics, a state-of-the-art commercial composting facility located in Thurston County. At Silver Springs, the food and paper scraps are composted into a nutrient-rich, natural soil amendment that will help grow new, healthy plants.

For more information

  • See how schools are doing - Want to know which schools already have Food to Flowers programs and how they’re doing? See the facts.
  • Start a new program - Want to learn more about how to start a Food to Flowers program at your school?  Let us help!
  • Download support materials - Already a Food to Flowers school? Download copies of our sort-line signs and more.
  • Other questions – If you need additional information, please contact us directly:

Contact us

Call Peter Guttchen at (360) 867-2283 or email


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