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'Lobster trap' compost bins available to Kennebunk residents thanks to high school students' efforts

The bins come in two sizes, three feet or four feet, and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Kennebunk Department of Public Services.
Credit: Town of Kennebunk

KENNEBUNK, Maine — The town of Kennebunk recently received a grant from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to construct and offer 100 free “lobster trap” compost bins to town residents. The compost bins, made of material typically used for lobster traps, are being constructed by students in the Kennebunk High School Alternative Education program. 

The bins come in two sizes, three feet or four feet, and are available on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Kennebunk Department of Public Services. To reserve a compost bin, residents should call 207-985-4811 and will be advised on a pick-up date.

Student Caiden Gilliam chose this project as one that fit with his skills and interests. He is working with other students under the direction of their teacher, Edward Sharood, to build the bins.

“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,” Linda Miller Cleary, Chair of the Kennebunk Composting Workgroup, said.

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.

If you are wondering what to do with all of those leaves in your yard, they make a great lining for the bins. The town of Kennebunk says now is a great time to pick up a bin and get started composting. 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.

The grant was written by Linda Miller Cleary and Anthony Dater from the Kennebunk Composting Workgroup in coordination with Bryan Laverriere at Public Services.