Waste that is dumped in our landfills is more than just unattractive; it pollutes local soil and waterways, takes up valuable land, and contributes to climate change. The good news is there are many ways we can reduce the waste that goes to those landfills. Projects listed below address waste-related problems by providing sustainable solutions and educational opportunities.

Advocating for a School Compost System

Community Impact Project Leads – Jacob Reed & Alexandra Iliopoulou

Project Description: This project focused on raising awareness around how to make Hillsdale High School’s waste system more sustainable. To do this, Jacob and Alexandra met with their school adminstration to advocate for a tri-bin waste system at their school and to include composting bins across their campus to reduce food waste that went to the landfill. The team also worked with the San Mateo Youth Commission to create a Task Force to monitor the district’s climate impact and compliance with state laws. Learn more about Jacob and Alexandra’s project below.

Read Jacob’s Case Study
Read Alexandra’s Case Study

Reducing Single Use Plastic Waste at Woodside High School

Community Impact Project Leads – Maeve Merwin & Sara Typrin (Woodside High School)

Project Description: This project focused on reducing single use plastics. The team achieved this goal by spreading awareness of the global plastic crisis, and by advocating for more sustainable purchasing policies. This project used social media to spread awareness about plastic waste and hosted an art contest on their Instagram page (@TacklePlastic). The team also worked with the organziation, Story of Plastic, and hosted a virtual documentary screening and virtual post-documentary discussion via Zoom. Learn more about Maeve and Sara’s project below.

Read Maeve’s Case Study
Read Sara’s Case Study

Reducing Paper Waste at Aragon High

Community Impact Project Leads – China Porter & Louisa Varni (Aragon High School)

Project Description: This project focused on educating local neighborhoods and communities virtually on the effects of paper waste and how overwhelming usage of these products contributes to climate change. The project did this by encouraging people to use less paper as well as give alternative methods to using regular paper. Learn more about China and Louisa’s project below.

Read China’s Case Study
Read Louisa’s Case Study

Waste Sorting Education with Error Waste

Community Impact Project Leads – Hannah Hsiao & Valerie Fan (Aragon High School)

Project Description: This project focused on educating local businesses and consumers on proper disposal of food packaging and the negative impact that single-use food packaging has on the environment. The team conducted outreach with different businesses across the County to discuss current waste disposal practices and share ideas to increase sustainability. From this outreach, the team started to work closely with Backhaus Bakery. The group is continuing to work with this business to add a stamp onto all of their packaging that tells the customer where the packaging should be disposed of. Learn more about Hannah and Valerie’s project below.

Read Hannah’s Case Study
Read Valerie’s Case Study

Waste Education with Art

Community Impact Project Leads – Alyssa Liao (The Nueva School)

Project Description: For this project, Alyssa developed a educational lesson plan for students to learn about waste systems and resource sustainability through creative re-use art projects. Learn more about Alyssa’s project below.

Read Alyssa’s Case Study

Promoting Sustainable Clothing

Community Impact Project Leads – Maya Avida (The Nueva School)

Project Description: For this project, Maya focused on the fast fashion industry and educated her peers on how the clothes we wear contribute to climate change. She also encouraged students to buy less clothes from major retailers and instead go to secondhand stores like Goodwill. Maya also created an Instagram account to spread awareness about the harms of fast fashion and encourage people find alternatives. Learn more about Maya’s project below.

Read Maya’s Case Study

Reuse and Repurpose: Finding New Homes for Surplus Items

Community Impact Project Leads – Samantha Noll (Mercy High School)

Project Description: Samantha noticed that due to the pandemic, people in her community were donating more items and were interested in sending their donations to organzation where they would be reused or repurposed. With this in mind, Samantha took it upon herself to collect, organize, and ship donated items to the appropriate organizations to ensure these donations did not end up in the landfill. Learn more about Samantha’s project below.

Read Samantha’s Case Study


YCA Waste Community Projects

YCA Error Waste Call To Action
YCA Backyard Trash Bash Flier
Repurposing Donated Toys
Waste Education On Social Media
Donating Used Books
Plastic Waste Art Contest
Plastic Waste Art Contest
Flyer On Paper Usage
Proposal For Adopting A Compost System At School