Lead SB124/HB150 Postcard Campaign with us
Grant Program to Reduce and Compost School Waste
Creates a $500K grant program for Maryland schools/school systems to receive funds for food waste reduction programs. These include placing compost bins in school cafeterias for lunch and other creative educational endeavours, with an emphasis on student-led programs
Why is this important? What’s the impact of school food diversion programs?
At a single school with 600 students, we are able to divert approximately 2000 pounds of food waste monthly. which is equal to CO2 emission from 80,000 of smartphone charged.
In Maryland alone there are approximately 1427 public schools, that would be equal to 2,854,000 pounds of food waste generated by schools each month.
In Maryland, an estimated 927,926 tons of food waste generated each year. Although being a major waste component, only 144,073 tons of food waste (i.e., Bakery Waste, Corn Ensilage, Food Waste, and Grain/Yeast), 15.5%, was recycled in Maryland in 2019.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and EPA announced the U.S. 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction goal, the first-ever domestic goal to reduce food loss and waste. The goal seeks to cut food loss and waste in 50% by the year 2030.
Why food waste reduction programs are important?
Fight climate change - by stopping food from releasing greenhouse gasses in landfills/incinerators that warm our planet. When food is turned to compost, the compost sequesters carbon, helping to offset climate change, and creates new soil to grow more food. Certify more MD Green Schools as a result.
Help students and families with food insecurity by creating share tables and transporting unopened food to food banks. By donating unopened food, we’re supplying food pantries that are currently experiencing higher demand than ever before due to the COVID pandemic.
Enhance education & create meaningful volunteer opportunities.
Focusing on schools built energy around waste consciousness in students, teachers & families, creating a more vested community.
Early education cultivates a generation of truly green citizens of tomorrow. It will lead to formation of environmental clubs, and green teams in schools, and the model has been shared with other students to establish similar programs in their schools, empowering them to take leadership in their school community and replicate the success in their communities.
Creating community-wide ripple effects that started from each school and extended to every home and neighborhoods.
What is the postcards campaign?
The House hearing for HB150 is on Jan 27. In the meantime, we would like to get students around the state to write postcards to their delegates urging them to vote favorably. We are working with student leaders across the state to have them delivered to schools, and then have them hand-delivered onto legislators' desks. We have spoken with the HB150 sponsors, Delegates Charkoudian and Solomon, and they are confident that these postcards will have a great impact on the vote outcome. Imagine the effect of thousands of postcards in offices across the MD House and Senate buildings, each with a different, personal message about why legislators need to make this grant program a reality.
How to host a post card campaign?
Student leaders are free to partner with clubs/SGAs at your school. Some ideas could include:
Set up a table in your main hallway(s) and recruit volunteers to get people to come over and write a postcard in the morning/during lunch
Recruit volunteers to talk to students and distribute/collect postcards during their classes
Talk to club leaders / SGA sponsors about:
distributing the postcards at one of their meetings and allocating 5 minutes to postcard writing
posting information about the postcards on their social media stories
sending an email to their club/SGA members about how they can write a postcard
Hold your own postcard writing event at lunch
Put up flyers around the school and in classrooms
What should you write?
A personal environmental, educational, or food-related experience and how it has impacted you. State that SB124 will give more students access to experiences like yours. This can also just be an explanation of why it’s personally important to you to reduce waste, respect food, and conserve the environment .
What’s the goal of these postcards?
Last year, we sent 6000 postcards to Annapolis and got SB124 passed. Legislators were impressed by the sheer volume of support and were motivated by student and teacher voices to vote favorably. Lots of legislators even hung up postcards in their offices!
But after SB124 passed, funds were struck down. Now, we need to demand that the governor put in funds for SB124 into the budget. Our postcards will show the governor that students and teachers are interested in starting food waste reduction programs and care about expanding access to environmental opportunities - that we need the money to do so!
Examples of Written postcards. Here are some ideas: