New composting law inspires climate change solutions

A new California law regarding composting went into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. Senate Bill 1383 requires individual households, schools, businesses, and more to reduce food waste by composting. Composting can contribute to slowing climate change, as well as putting discarded food to a good use.

The school is working towards having composting bins on campus to comply with the new law and reduce the negative impact waste has on the environment. With new bins, students and staff can compost leftovers from lunch or snack, rather than throwing it into the trash. Some students have displayed a passion for helping the environment as well. A new club was added this year called California Youth Climate Leaders (CYCL), allowing students to get involved with the composting and other environment related projects on campus.

“We work towards sustainability initiatives and combating climate change in our community, especially around Novato and at San Marin,” CYCL club president and sophomore Noela De Frenza said. “We just started this year, so we are hoping to grow in the future.”

Environmental Science, Marine Biology, and STEM Ecology teacher Melissa Havel is the staff member in charge of this club, and she has been helping to guide and educate members as they implement the compost bin plan.

“We called the person in charge of our garbage and they are working on getting bins to the campus,” Havel said. “We are going to have students from that club monitor and educate for the first month, as people get used to throwing their food waste in the compost.”

Composting helps to reduce waste by repurposing natural materials into something usable to grow more goods. This helps break the cycle of waste that is ultimately damaging to the environment.

“Right now, 50% of the waste that goes to the landfill is compostable material,” Havel said. “So by getting the material that could be composted out of the garbage, you both save room in the garbage and reduce greenhouse gases like methane.” De Frenza is an advocate of the compost law due to the positive impacts it will have not only for the community, but on a global scale. “I think the new law is great,” De Frenza said. “A couple years ago, my community began composting and I wondered why it wasn’t a universal thing. Composting can help combat so many greenhouse gases that are unnecessary in landfills. The fact that we are able to implement that in schools, businesses, and all across California is amazing.”

Other than just getting compost bins for the school, club members have brainstormed future steps that can be taken to further combat climate change in our community.

“I would love to see if school lunch in the future could use more cardboard, paper, and compostable utensils,” De Frenza said. “This also aligns with the law because as we implement these compost bins, and hopefully more compostable items, people will get used to and learn more about composting.”

The state law will help to aid in the present issue of climate change.

“Everyone doing their part is so very important,” Havel said, “I’m really excited about it. I’ve always thought it is ridiculous that we don’t compost. It’s gonna be a really positive change.”

The CYCL instagram is @californiayouthclimateleaders for more information on environmental issues in Marin.

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