Lobster Trap Compost Bins
The Town of Kennebunk received a grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in the Fall of 2020 to purchase, construct and offer 100 free “lobster trap” compost bins to town residents. The bins were available to residents late Fall of 2020 and early Spring of 2021. Residents were eager to participate in composting and those 100 bins went quickly. The compost bins, made of material typically used for lobster traps, were constructed by students in the Kennebunk High School Alternative Education program.
Student Caiden Gilliam, together with teacher Jacquelyn Holmes, and Linda Miller Cleary put together a handout for composters with detailed information on how the composting process works. The handout was provided to those residents who signed up and picked up a bin. Caiden Gilliam chose this project as one that fit with his skills and interests. He worked with other students under the direction of teacher, Edward Sharood, to build the bins. The grant was written by Linda Miller Cleary and Anthony Dater from the Kennebunk Composting Workgroup in coordination with Bryan Laverriere at Public Services.
“This project was conceived by the Kennebunk Composting Workgroup as a way that the town could contribute to the removal of methane and carbon from the waste stream and, hence, from the environment. Currently, about 30 percent of Kennebunk's waste costs are generated by the food and garden waste,” says Linda Miller Cleary, Chair of the Kennebunk Composting Workgroup.
Removing methane and carbon from the waste stream helps to reduce global warming. The food matter, layered with nitrogen-rich leaves, grass clippings or other organic matter, will turn into rich soil for gardens, lawns, and other projects. This process converts nutrients to return them to the earth. The lobster trap material allows air to flow through the compost bins speeding the waste to earth process.
The backyard compost bins will provide cost savings to the town and could provide savings to those who use them as it will diminish the amount of trash that goes into the Pay as You Throw bags. Volunteers will weigh the waste put into their bins, calculating the estimated cost savings to the town.
The Kennebunk High School Alternative Education program is designed to provide high school students with an alternative to the traditional classroom experience and to encourage them to create personal goals based on individual needs, abilities, and interests.
"In an effort to instill the value of service and the importance of being an engaged citizen, Edward Sharood and I try to create opportunities for students to partner with members of their community on independent projects. Caiden's experience with building and Linda's knowledge and passion for composting felt like a perfect match!"