For the 2022-23 school year, we are kicking off a school-wide waste reduction initiative. This initiative was kicked off this summer by planning done by Environmental Science student John Kubowics and CulSci Supervisor Ms. Doria.
Our goal is to reduce the amount of school’s food waste that’s entering landfills so we need our whole community on board! To do this, we are asking all students to simply take an extra second before discarding their food waste. Rather than throwing it all into one bin, please sort your trash into either Recycling, Landfill or Compost. Plastics (juice cups, water bottles, cutlery) will go in the blue recycle bin; trash (chip bags, wrappers, napkins) will go in the black landfill bin; and food waste (banana peel, food leftovers, etc.) will be deposited in the green compost bin. Once the trash is sorted, we use a Rocket Composter to turn cafeteria food-waste into soil that we can use in our organic garden and landscaping.
To date we've saved a total of 20,015 pounds of food waste from entering landfills - 1,305 pounds of which was turned to soil by using our Rocket Composter on campus, and the rest was sent out to The Community Compost Company to compost on their site. This sorting has also allowed our maintenance staff to use their trash compactor for the first time now that the food waste is separated from all other waste - allowing them to reduce our dumpster pickups from once a week to once a month!
We encourage everyone to take a moment to understand the importance of this effort. Food waste is a problem around the world, and we make our community more beautiful and resourceful when we compost. The facilities, cafeteria and maintenance staff have been instrumental in getting this initiative off the ground as well as our partners at the HCIA and the Food Waste Experts. Furthermore, the Environmental Science students are helping pioneer this effort by educating each student and teacher in the building on how to sort their waste. Ms. Samantha Doria says, “This has truly been a collective effort with a lot of hard work done by students, teachers, cafeteria staff, and maintenance staff and it has been so rewarding coming together to put these ideas into action.”
The following are Ms. Doria's student interns who are an integral part of the composting team. Each day, senior Environmental Science majors Linda Sanchez and Emma Dezenzo feed the Rocket Composter food waste from the cafeteria. Senior Architecture major Makayla Agosto is designing and planning a structure to cover the Rocket Composter from winter snow. The Environmental Science students from grades 10, 11 and 12 went around to all the homerooms to present on this new initiative and gather feedback from students and staff. Senior DFAB major, Riana Wadhwani designed the flyers and social media posts to further educate students in the community. BioMed major Ayushi Patel monitors the cafeteria during lunch and assists students in sorting their trash accordingly. Thank you in advance for your support. We look forward to the positive outcomes of our initiative and hope to see everyone getting involved!
BY RIANA WADHWANI