live / 2019
Our #LAGREENTEEN program teaches inner-city Angeleno youth about environmentalism and reduction of single-use plastics through a 4 part workshop. LA HIGH is the first school we are working with (March & April 2019). We seek to install clean water filtration units throughout LA High school and plan to repeat this with other LAUSD schools as well. Without these units students are forced to buy plastic water bottles as their source of water as their school water is unsafe to drink.
Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.
For nine years, Crayon Collection has been dedicated to breaking a cycle of waste while at the same time supporting teachers and children in classrooms around LA and beyond our city. The idea was born when seeing like-new crayons be discarded by restaurant staff at kid-friendly restaurants at a rate of 150 million crayons/year. Crayons do not decompose as they are made of paraffin wax. In addition, the norm of tossing still good crayons worsened the “throw-away society” Americans are known for and kids were watching this happen over and over again. We had to re-think trash as our landfills were overfilled and trash had to be transported miles away from Los Angeles via train. We started to pair local underserved Title 1 schools with participating restaurants who agreed to collect the still good crayons for us. Local schools would pick up over 2500 crayons per month for homework and a variety of art projects. Crayon Collection broke a cycle of waste that was longstanding and many people never considered and instilled a new mindset. Next, we challenged LA based artists to create projects ideas using just crayons so students could have robust art education curriculum, another program that was cut in public schools. The Crayon Collection model was an example of how we can do better but thinking of solutions. It was at these very same restaurants that we noticed full glasses of water with plastic straws in them that no one ordered. We realized that this was a “habit of waste” that needed to be changed as ewll. We spearheaded the ban on plastic straws and cutlery in the iconic City of Malibu, which ignited worldwide change against single-use plastics. We launched a new program called Habits of Waste to address more environmental issues including plastics and many other things. Then #LAGREENTEEN allows us to reduce dependency on plastic water bottles in LAUSD schools by providing another solution - filtered water units. Creating a new “eco-normal” consciousness that focuses on stewardship of the environment and support of nearby communities in need. Now, we are inspiring environmental action & career building for low-income students who have less access to environmental opportunities than their affluent counterparts.
Which of the live metrics will your submission impact?
- Percentage of imported water
- Obesity rates
- Resilient communities
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- South LA
- County of Los Angeles
How will your project make LA the best place to live?
#LAGREENTEEN camapaign is a part of HabitsofWaste.org (a program of Crayon Collection). #LAGREENTEEN consists of four, 90 min workshops to teach students how to use social media to create positive change for the environment and for their own school with an end goal of installing 4 water filtration stations with bottle filling options. We have curated the workshops to address 1). the problem single-use plastic , 2.)why clean drinking water (64 ounces per person per day) is so necessary and so crucial for ALL people to have access to, 3.) how the students can become “active agents” in their home, school and community. 4.) Students will learn how to raise awareness and funds by reaching out through social media and local businesses. The students will learn that no matter where you live, your voice matters and that clean water is a basic right. A large portion uses social media as the tool to create social change. High school students “speak” social media so we know there are huge metrics we can discover through their work. Habits of Waste will ensure that the students are successful in installing the clean water filters but we want the students to also work with us to reach out to the community and receive funds. Our timeline is as follows: Week 1 Dr. Tim Pershing from Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s will teach the workshop called “The Problem with Single-Use Plastics” in addition to screening documentary film, “STRAWS”. Week 2 Dr. Angelica Hernandez from UCLA will focus on successful grassroots movements, Week 3 will be led by experts in social media explaining powerful social media strategy, Week 4 will be the culmination project where students will learn how to reach out to their community to find support for an important cause like access to clean water. Habits of Waste will help them create a GoFundMe page as well so that the students can see how they are progressing. The population we are serving: students and faculty of Los Angeles Senior High which is located mid-city, on Olympic Blvd. It has 1,544 students with 92.74% classified as low-income, 78% Hispanic and 13% black, and ranks in the bottom 16% of the district with a Pupil/Teacher ratio of 20.58. Auditing student consumption levels of single-use plastics and making strides to cut those levels is an integral part of the program. We will provide surveys to all students at the beginning of the program and at the end. This project will provide students with access to free CLEAN water so they no longer need to use limited resources to purchase water. It will also divert them from purchasing sodas or sugary drinks as this option is free and delicious. ALL LAUSD schools should have these filtered drinking station as this will change the trajectory of those living in the inner city to have healthier lives and through the #LAGREENTEEN progam, students will also understand how to create change and use their voice. This will help make measurable progress in making LA the best place to live.
In what stage of innovation is this project?
Pilot project (testing a new idea on a small scale to prove feasibility)
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
We have surveys to asses student behavior and dependency on single-use plastics at the beginning and at the end of the program. We anticipate a drop in usage once they learn more about the harm single use plastics have on the environment. Also, we know how many plastic water bottles and sodas are being purchased each day, prior to the installation of the 5 water filtration stations. We will reassess after the students have the option of free clean water to see how many plastic water bottles are being sold per day.