Dartington primary school case study

Dartington Primary School
Dartington C of E Primary School in Devon has approximately 340 pupils
from ages 3-11. A grant provided by Devon County Council’s ‘Cutting
your Wasteline’ programme provided an ideal opportunity to buy essential
equipment to purchase the Ridan, part match funded by the Parents
Teachers Friends Association (£380). This was in-line with their status as
an eco-school and complemented their move to a new ‘eco-build’ site in
February 2010. After considering many different types of composter two
different models were capable of treating the average 18 kgs of food
waste produced daily by the school. One was prohibitively expensive and
so the Ridan was selected as the best technology to meet the school’s
Nature and quantity of waste treated on site
Food waste arises from the preparation of school meals and leftovers
from school dinners and packed lunches
The outdoor areas of the school site are managed by grounds
maintenance contractors who remove the organic garden waste but
leave some of this waste for use in the composter when requested
The food waste is mixed with an equal amount garden waste
(approximately 17-19 kg per day ) and 50 litres of dry wood chip that
acts as a bulking agent
Key features
Name: RIDAN composter medium
Size: 2.4x1.1x1.6 m
Spatial requirements: as above
Capacity: Composting 17-19kgs food waste daily
Energy: None
Housing: None
Maintenance: No maintenance required
Output: Compost for onsite use
“Composting has become a
permanent part of school life”
Karen Bradford,
Dartington CE Primary School
RIDAN with school children
Dartington School
Lessons Learnt
 Positive impact on catering team towards recycling following the introduction of the Ridan, whereas previously they stated that they “didn’t have
the time to recycle”
 Original wood chip was too wet, therefore changed to a different type
How food is separated for treatment
• The whole school community is involved in collecting waste for the
• First the children, with the support of Mealtime Assistants, sort their waste
into the appropriate containers at break times and lunchtimes
• Secondly, the school’s catering team sorts the waste created from the
preparation of meals for Dartington Primary and Broadhempston Primary
• Teaching assistants for both Key Stage One and Two help to clean waste
bins and take the full bins to the Ridan composter.
How the on-site treatment system is managed
• The day to day running requires loading the composter and washing out
the food waste caddies and takes approximately 20 minutes
• A member of the grounds maintenance contractor team loads the food
waste, garden waste and wood chip into the unit, making sure the ‘mix’ is
right for quality compost output. Composting has been written in to this
individual’s job description to ensure these responsibilities are carried out
• The school has used the Ridan since 2009 and it is still going strong. The
jacket and insulation has suffered some damage from rats
• No specific skills are required, other than a basic understanding of the
ingredients and composting process which can be gained from the web or
expert advice given freely by the Devon Community Composting Network.
Use of outputs from treatment
 The nutrient rich compost is used on-site around the garden
 Year 5 pupils harvested vegetables from their class garden to
make soup
• Capital and start up costs £1,610; (this was an introductory offer
– actual cost is £2250 + vat) funded by Devon County Council’s
‘Cutting your Wasteline’ programme, the Devon Community
Composting Network and the Parents, Teachers and Friends
Association (PTFA)
• In 2012 the school used a 'Cutting your Wasteline' grant from
Devon County Council to purchase a Scotty's Hot Box for the
maturation of the compost. They had previously managed
without but have found this speeds up the process of maturation
• There are no running costs since the time incurred to manage
the composter is absorbed into the grounds maintenance
• Wood chip is sourced free of charge from a local tree surgeon
• No routine maintenance costs
• Waste management savings
• Savings are negligible (maybe £200 per year) and would be
offset by the labour cost; financial gains are not a motivating
factor in composting for Dartington.
This case study is part of a series of case studies focussing on the on-site treatment of organic waste.
Other case studies in this series are:
 Eriska Hotel;
 Housing 21;
 Millets Farm Centre;
 University of Southampton;
 University of Bradford; and
 Her Majesty’s Prison Service
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