Kailua Intermediate School (KIS)

Challenge, Growth, Financing
Student enrollment, grades 7 and 8: 770

Start: August 2018
• Total 2018 food waste recovered: 11,825 (5.9 tons) One semester only.

There were three good reasons to take on KIS as our 5th Zero Waste School this year:
1. Four of the nine KIS feeder schools are Zero Waste campuses. Students who developed the practices and mindfulness of Resource Recovery throughout their elementary years are forced to abandon those hard-won habits upon entering middle school. We didn’t want to lose them so soon to the Dark Side!

2. The long-established Malama Garden at KIS – under the expert supervision of Wendy Rosen – has just started to soar with far more students involved at a far more sophisticated level. They have always struggled with funding. We saw our ability to raise money with compost, vermicast, and worm sales as a means to make this exceptional Garden program financially self-sustaining within only a few years. KIS’s dilapidated old worm bin (dating back to 2006!) was restored and a second, then a third, bin installed.

3. We are totally confident about our operations at elementary schools, but middle school is a whole different beast. The future of the Zero Waste School movement will include not just elementary levels, but middle and high schools, too, and our staff aspires to work with, inspire, educate, and initiate positive behavior change in students of all ages. We felt it was time to grow and challenge ourselves.

It’s A Work In Progress
Ah, easier said than done. Our composting and vermicomposting operations function beautifully, but our ability to capture food waste, for example, is still a work in progress. Getting students to comply with food waste separation has created far too much infrastructure and staff time dedicated to a small amount of waste – highly inefficient.

We’re working on solutions to this and many other challenges at KIS. Stay tuned.