Posted by Ryan
When the first person walked up to our poster, I could sense that we were nervous. Even though we had been working on this project for weeks now, we still didn’t really know what to say at first. However, as more people came up to the poster, we eventually had created a script in our heads, that we kept revising and editing as more people asked different questions.
When deciding where to start when explaining our project, we naturally followed the different stages of our project that lead up to the forum. We started off by explaining that we wanted to solve food waste in L.A. because 20% of a landfill is produce, which creates methane gas, a contributing factor to global warming. We also explained how food waste has a personal impact on an individual, which is that an average household wastes over $600 every year on food that gets thrown out.
We then told them that there is a possible and effective solution to this issue. Composting. We decided to create an experiment where we asked nine households, in our neighborhoods to participate in collecting food scraps for a week. At the end of the week, we collected the bins we had provided, that were now full of scraps, and we deposited them at different compost facilities, like LA Compost and Kiss the Ground.
I found that when we had to explain the same things over again, we learned new things about our project. For example, when we showed our data, we found that the group member with the most compostable materials, also lived in a neighborhood where composting was more of a norm. The interesting part is that this statistic shows that when one becomes more comfortable with composting and it becomes part of their routine, you can have a bigger impact on the environment.
Finally, we described our next steps. Some cities, like San Francisco and Seattle already require the collecting of compostable materials in neighborhoods. They provide services like the bins, and a weekly pickup, to be able to get thousands of pounds of food waste out of the landfills. We explained that our goal is to make composting required in Los Angeles or more easily accessible. Some adults seemed skeptical that this would perhaps be too hard to do, or inconvenient. I said that people had similar beliefs when recycling was first being introduced, now it is second nature. It felt good fighting for a change that needs to be implemented everywhere.
We hadn’t prepared anything to say specifically, but we were so familiar with our process, that we knew what to say when someone asked us questions we had never answered before, because we had been talking, writing, and capturing our project and experiment already. One of our group members sadly couldn’t make it, so we had to prepare mentally to be without a third voice. The two of us had to know everything and we had to feel comfortable speaking up.
I learned that you need to be willing to deal with issues, instead of ignoring them. When coming up with our solution, there were times when I couldn’t quite see our vision working out, whether it was timing or communication. But, my teammates and I worked through it. We came up with solutions to our problems, and it benefited us in the end, because we didn’t have as many errors, and our project, I believe, did not fail.
Posted By Ashley
We have finally completed our solution with great results! Fortunately, all of the families, whose help we solicited, were very eager to help us with our project by putting all their compostable materials in a different box or bucket than in their regular garbage. All six houses combined accumulated about 70 pounds of food scraps equaling about 60 pounds of compost. This pertains to a total of six houses in one week. It is our finding that if composting were more accessible and more encouraged among the many neighborhoods of Los Angeles, we could save an extremely large amount of waste and compost. By doing so, we would create a healthy, chemical-free soil for the environment as well as reduce the amount of waste in landfills. Consequently, we would reduce the amount of methane gases that contribute to global warming. We each took our neighborhood’s compost to composting facilities near us and had them weighed. We recorded the data. Our data made us realize what a big impact our community’s waste is having on our earth and in landfills around the country. To increase our impact, we could have definitely increased the number of families that we reached out to for their help with our project, however, we continue communicating with the members of our communities, and we are looking forward to continue to compost as well as to help our environment in form of a collaborative community effort.Furthermore, we received some interesting feedback from our neighbors. When asked if they could continue the process of composting, some people agreed very willingly that this would be a great idea, and they would be very happy to continue the process independently without our help. However, others asserted that although they believed composting to be a great way to help the environment, it is, in their opinion, unmanageable because of either the smell or the extra time needed to drive the scraps to a composting hub. Overall, this project was a very productive experience, as it offered the opportunity to gain important information on food waste, environmental impact, and composting. We are very excited to present our findings at the Forum on Wednesday!
Posted by Jack
We are just days away from a) beginning to implement our solution and b) making a stronger, more positive impact on our community! Up to this point, we have had many difficulties, such as trying to figure out the specifics of our solution implementation and deciding on what the solution would be itself. But we have also had many successes and many triumphs, such as identifying our problem through complex and detailed mind maps. And through it all, we have persevered and we have stayed strong. We have purchased our compost bins, we know exactly what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it, and the only thing left for us to do is to start collecting our data! I can not tell you how excited our group is at this very moment. Here are some pictures of our journey so far:
Posted by Jack
This week was another productive week for all of us, and some major progress has been made concerning the development of our project. On Wednesday, various Windward faculty members visited the science classroom to hear our problem and our solution to that problem, and then after, ask us any questions, address any concerns they may have, and give us any general feedback and/or constructive criticism. Every faculty member liked our final solution, though questions and concerns did arise. The main things we were questioned about didn’t concern the concept of our solution, but instead about how we were going to execute it, specifically about things such as transportation, the cost and size of bins, how the solution will remain sustainable, etc. These were all valid concerns and things we all hadn’t thought about, and meeting with faculty helped us all learn what we were already doing right and what we needed to improve on. Based on the feedback we collected, Ashley developed a revised solution, which took components from our already existing solution and incorporated a contest for households, to make the composting process more appealing. We are still working with our respective neighborhoods to implement this solution. Our solution will work and the public should be excited about it because it will encourage citizens to do responsible things with their waste, such as composting, which will end up being converted into soil to plant new plants, trees, and fresh vegetables, which is a huge plus for the environment, the planet, and our communities. In terms of data, we will be measuring the weight of the compost we all have collected before turning it over, as weighing will be an effective method to measure how much of an impact we had on the community. We expect to see high amounts of compost and heavy weights over the next two-three weeks, but it mostly depends on if people contribute or not! However, we will certainly try our best and our hardest to make sure most people, or everyone, do. We are all looking forward to the coming weeks!
Posted by Ashley
This week we brainstormed many solutions to reduce the problem of food waste. We had a few solutions that passed the flowchart Solution Test. Our final solution is to distribute compost bins to a few houses in each of our neighborhoods. We would take educational pamphlets to each house explaining what can and can’t be composted. We would also include a contest for each family that composts the most to make the solution more appealing to other families. We would then collect all the bins and drive them to the Venice Hub Los Angeles where we would donate the food scraps to be composted, then, we would weigh how much compost each bin of food scraps would make and record the numbers.
Our group landed on the problem of household food waste because it is a specific yet still a very problematic waste topic that would be beneficial to reduce. We also considered solutions such as going around to farmers markets and helping them compost however, that idea is already being done by some non profit organizations that donate the edible food to the hungry and take the leftovers and compost them. These solutions are in place in many Los Angeles Farmers Markets. A main non profit organization that does this is Food Forward which collects and reuses all over Los Angeles. Another one of our solutions was to find a solution to the amounts of food that school cafeterias are wasting, however, a lot of schools have restrictions on how they reuse their food such as no composting because it creates a smell around the school or no selling leftovers because people may not buy that.
After we ran through a few solutions like these we decided to narrow our solution even more to something that we could make a bigger impact on. We are very excited to start implementing our solution on a few neighborhoods.
Posted by Ryan
During the second week of our Challenge Based Learning Project, we continued to research our focus of waste in farmers market’s, as well as households. We narrowed our focus from waste to the produce that is thrown away, even though it is still good to eat, donate, or compost, but just isn’t reused. We also continued to research the effects of waste in America. We found that in the US, in each household $640 dollars of food is wasted per year, according to USA Today. This statistic shows that food waste does have a personal impact on an individual's life and that if anything, reducing waste will have a personal benefit. However, waste also has a global impact. 20% of a landfill is food waste, which creates methane gas, a contributing factor to global warming.
Our group also started reaching out to different farmers markets via email about how they dealt with their food waste. We thought reaching out to the actual markets was more beneficial than an article because it would give us more information from the people who deal with the waste and we could start to form a relationship with the farmers markets, since we might want to base our solution there. Then, one of our team members went down to the Playa Vista farmers market to interview 8 vendors. She learned that the market provided the vendor's a place to drop off food and other waste to compost. Also, many vendors already donated leftovers. Therefore, we learned about solutions that were currently being implemented and we got more inspiration for other ideas.
Finally, like I said above, reducing food waste is important because it impacts everyone. First of all, it impacts you. Financially, you waste hundreds of dollars on food, instead of saving/eating it or just thinking ahead by not buying or preparing so much. Second your polluting the earth. Even though it definitely takes more than just your trash to pollute, your still contributing, which affects the whole world to a certain degree. Reducing waste may take effort or time, but it's still easy.
We can not wait to finalize our focus and narrow it down completely. Our goal is definitely to find a specific issue and create a major impact with our solution.
Posted by Ryan
Hello there! We are excited to meet you all. We are Ryan, Jack, and Ashley, and for this year’s CBL project, we will be exploring the topic of waste mitigation, and specifically, finding a solution to food waste in Los Angeles. We are all very interested in this subtopic, as, from conducting research, it is a major problem in the United States that can be easily prevented by anybody, but just hasn’t yet! Food waste usually tends to be incinerated in landfills, creating greenhouse gases that hurt the environment, instead of being composted or donated, and we’d like to try and change that in our community. After Spring Break, we will begin to brainstorm specific, detailed solutions to this problem, but so far this week, we are off to a tremendous start and are already making lots of progress. We have been developing our ideas using mind maps, concepts we have learned in science class, and from various information we’ve all collected from our own independent research. We’re excited to see what will come next and to take you along on our journey!