Community Composting Project
The Young Activist Club is launching a new project: demonstrating that food scraps can be composted locally! We want to compost the paperboard lunch trays from local schools, as well as take food scraps from the under-served apartment buildings, the food co-op, and some neighborhood restaurants, too. (This pilot project is timely as the compost site in Upper Marlboro where the City takes our residential food waste is now limiting how much it can accept!)
The Young Activist Club began as an after-school club sponsored by the Piney Branch Elementary School PTA. Half of our members are still students at Piney Branch ES. The other half – alumni of Piney Branch ES – now attend middle and high school at either Eastern MS, Takoma MS or Blair HS.
Past School Projects
Piney Branch ES Dishwasher Pilot Project: Pilot testing washable lunch trays in place of disposable styrofoam trays.
PTA Polystyrene-Free Pledges: Advocating that PTAs adopt a policy to avoid polystyrene at all PTA events.
Trash Free School Lunches: Educating parents and students on how to pack trash-free lunches, measuring lunch trash before and after, holding a trash-free lunch day.
Our campaign asking businesses to sign our pledge to go polystyrene free was successful. This pledge helped make our community safer and healthier and raised awareness in our community about the problems with polystyrene. After businesses signed the pledge, they got a sticker to display on their window and we delivered a stack of our bookmarks to further help raise awareness. More than two dozen businesses in Takoma Park signed the pledge! This campaign was instrumental in passing the polystyrene ban in Takoma Park. Read more.
While we worked with businesses and individuals to voluntarily reduce use of polystyrene in foodservice ware, we knew that policies banning its use would be more effective in eliminating the dangers of using polystyrene for food-contact items like plates, cups, and take-out containers.
Our policy activities included:
- Identifying model policies in place elsewhere
- Working to get local resolutions passed to restrict use of polystyrene for foodservice ware
- Asking local PTAs to pledge go polystyrene-free for PTA events
We raised awareness within our community concerning the problems with polystyrene. We have met with new Takoma Park City Council members, a local business association, many local businesses; participated in election candidate forums and environmental film screenings; written articles and newsletters; testified before local elected bodies; tabled at the farmers’ market; and more.
In order to distribute information about the problems with polystyrene, we created a bookmark, which we distributed to our local library and to the local businesses that signed our polystyrene-free pledge. Download our bookmark here.
If you’d like us to come talk to your PTA, business, organization, or community, please contact us!