RHS senior Bridget Foley is leading a food waste composting project at Richfield High School. RHS Green Team Advisor Matt Brown described the project as “a collaboration with the food service, buildings and grounds, janitorial staff and continuous student effort to compost uneaten food.”
Bridget took on this project as her Girl Scouts Gold Award, which is the highest award you can earn in Girl Scouts. The Gold Award is awarded to fewer than 6% of Girl Scouts annually. To earn it, you need to lead an extensive “Take Action” project that reaches beyond the Girl Scout organization and provides a sustainable, lasting benefit to the larger community. The RHS Green Team had been discussing the possibility of composting at the high school for a few years, and Bridget realized it would be a perfect fit for her to lead the project.
We asked Bridget a few questions about her experience:
What steps did you take to make this project a reality?
I started by meeting with the administration and the grounds manager. I learned that during the construction, they had created a space where the composting bin could go. I then turned my focus to making sure that the implementation would be successful. I worked with both the Green Team and officials from the city to create an educational video and slideshow that we showed in advisory to help educate students about the “hows” and “whys” of composting. Finally, I organized a team of volunteers, composed of students from both the Green Team and National Honor Society, to monitor the composting bins at lunch to ensure that they were not getting contaminated with trash.
Did you encounter any challenges along the way?
I would say that the biggest challenge I faced was getting enough people to volunteer to monitor the bins at lunch. Admittedly, it's not particularly fun, so no one was super interested in participating.
Why are you so passionate about this project?
I am really interested in environmentalism and actions that we can take in our everyday lives to help lower our impact on the environment. Composting seemed like a great first step. In terms of all the mitigation measures that we have available to us, it is one of the easiest to implement. Every bit of food that is composted is something that doesn't reach the landfill, and that's something to be happy about.
What do you want people to know about composting/recycling?
I would like everyone to know that it really does make a difference. It's worth taking the extra 10 seconds to make sure that you are sorting your trash correctly. Everything that we can keep out of the landfill is a step in the right direction.