Three compost bins, one scale, and a whole bunch of food scraps are all the ingredients that two seniors need to create a sustainability plan at Mercy High School.
A couple weeks ago, Alex Lewis and Phoebe Georgiades enacted an idea they learned years prior in the Girl Scouts in which girls would put their food scraps in a bin and then weigh the contents to determine the amount of waste being produced. The effort at Mercy is dubbed the “Ort Report” because ort is defined as “a scrap or remainder of food from a meal.”
“It was really fun in the Girl Scouts and actually helped because people really did reduce their food waste in just a week,” Phoebe said. “When we came to realize that it was going to be a buffet style lunch, we knew this was going to be important in reducing waste by creating a greater awareness.”
The ladies met with school leadership for approval and were given the compost bins to begin their project. They quickly painted the bins with fun designs and started rolling them out at the start of each lunch. After school each day, the ladies remove the waste from the bins for weighing.
“We’re trying to setup a way so that people will see the amount of waste they’re creating and hopefully they’ll want to get involved and we can get a lower amount of waste,” Alex said. “We just jumped right in and started doing what we needed to do and hopefully we really can get people more motivated about being involved and helping the school.”
By creating more awareness, the hope is that students will reduce their waste during lunch and create new sustainable practices at school that are environmental friendly. They also hope to create a club and enlist the support of other clubs and classes around the school.
“Right now, it’s all about collecting a bunch of data so we can show people their trends without being conscious of it and then we can begin calculating what is possible for us to do,” Phoebe said.
“A lot of this is about the individual person being aware of what they’re doing and how much they’re wasting and having the awareness to make better decisions,” Alex said.