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Food makes up about 20 percent of the trash that ends up in landfills. Composting your kitchen scraps is one way to reduce food waste. But in Rhode Island there are strict regulations about taking food scraps from neighbors, and includes getting permits and submitting engineering plans. As of this year, state law requires large institutions to compost their food at a licensed facility, but only if they can find one within 15 miles. There’s currently just one commercial food composter in the state but the new regulations Rhode Island is considering will attract new industrial composters along with allowing residential groups and communities to compost legally. Environmental officials have yet to approve the new composting regulations, but they’re expected to do that in the next few months. Share this local news story with your students to discuss how regulations can bring about change.
Use with grades 6-9
Common Core State Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.1: Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.2: Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.
Listening Comprehension Questions
Assign these questions to your students or answer them together in a group.
- What are the reasons new composting regulations are being proposed?
- What would the new regulations allow?
- How will new composting regulations improve the landfills?
- Why are schools and garden communities waiting in the wings?
- Why do you think there is only one commercial food composting company in Rhode Island? Do you think the state will attract more industrial composting companies with the new regulations?
Use these questions to get students thinking at the beginning of class. They can use evidence from the story to support their ideas during a class discussion.
- In your opinion, what laws should be in place about residential composting?
- Why do you think some people are eager to compost in their neighborhoods?
- Teaching Strategies for using Listenwise in the classroom
- Lesson: Energy of Ecosystems
- Current Event: Recycling Food Waste
- Composting in the Classroom: Scientific Inquiry for High School Students, Cornell Composting.