Engineering Students Building Compost Bins


ILS juniors in the engineering class are building their own compost bins.

Noor Andre, Editor

The engineering teacher, Mr. Ruben Ilizarbe, is having his engineering students make compost bins. 

A compost bin is a container designed to turn food scraps and other materials that would normally be considered waste into something useful. The compost, the end product, is used as fertilizer for plants.

Engineering students are making them because Mr. Ilizarbe thinks this project has some environmental, mechanical, and industrial engineering elements to it. Secondly, because they wanted to develop a system that helps reduce the day-to-day waste at ILS.

Not only do compost bins benefit ILS, they also benefit the world.

“I hope that the whole school can take advantage of having a compost bin. It’s really important that we do our part in helping out the world, even if we’re starting off with a tiny compost bin. Especially now, when global warming is such a relevant topic, our carbon footprint really depends on how much we can reduce the amount of methane created by land fills. This is just a small step towards a better future,” says junior Lourdes Nieto-Ramos, an engineering student. 

The students are currently working on a prototype that is small scale which only takes a couple of classes to make. But when they are ready to build a full-scale version of their design, it will take much longer. 

For their prototype, they are able to use any material they bring or things available in class ranging from paper to cardboard to the 3D printer. 

If the final compost bins are cost-effective and scalable, the goal is to build full sized versions for our school campus. It would be used to help the herb and vegetable garden on campus.  

Mr. Ilizarbe has high expectations for his students and is excited to see the final products. 

“I expect creativity and ingenuity. I expect them to focus on the design process as much as they do in the final product. And I expect them to deliver a cost-effective product to produce, that is easy to use and maintain,” he says.

The engineering classes at ILS are part of the school’s STEAM program. The engineering focus provides exposure to career skills in various engineering fields. The course of study begins with Introduction to Engineering, which provides students with a foundation of knowledge and technically oriented experiences in the study of applied engineering and its effect upon our lives.

ILS was the first Catholic school in the country to be STEM certified. As stated on the website, ILS is committed to increasing STEAM literacy for all students and to nurture active, lifelong learners preparing them to be responsible, contributing members of society and global citizens who can identify and use the connections shared by these disciplines to help shape their lives and their community.