What’s Up With Eco Team?


Tauson Biggs, Staff Reporter

You have probably heard or heard of Austin Sarker-Young’s famous catchline “Go Eco!”, but there is a lot more to the Eco Team than a catchy slogan.

For those of you who do not know, Eco Team is a school club that pushes for environmental change at Wilmington Friends School. Eco Team is made up of a small but dedicated group of high school students who actively work to make our school and community as a whole more environmentally friendly. The club does not yet have a middle or lower school branch, but that is something they are looking into and eager to get going. The club’s leader, Pablo Charriez ’24, shared some of the goals and accomplishments of the club so far this year.

So you might be wondering, Pablo Charriez? Who the heck is that? Where’s Austin? These are all good questions. The short answer is that Austin wanted to set up Eco Team for when he was gone. So Pablo bravely stepped up to the plate, trying to fill the big shoes that Austin left for him. So far, he has done an admirable job.

A couple of weeks ago, the Eco Team conducted a waste audit (an independent inspection) of where all the school’s trash goes. They went through several waste sources (trash bins) from around the upper school and searched through the contents of these trash bins on two days in mid-November and sorted through them after school. It was messy work, but the Eco Team was in good spirits knowing they would be getting valuable data at the end. The results of the audit were very enlightening. In all metrics, the cafeteria was concluded to be the biggest producer of waste. Whether it be cardboard or food waste, the recycling and trash bins in the cafeteria are filled up every day. 

On the second day of the audit, there was a total of 32.23 lbs of trash collected. If the trash bins included in the audit produced this amount of trash every day, WFS would create well over 6000 lbs of trash in a school year. And that is only for 6 or 7 trash bins in the Upper School! Even more astonishing are the percentages of different types of waste found in the bins. The data shows that the waste was made up of 9.6% paper, 10.8% cardboard, 25.3% plastics, 2.7% metal, and 51.4% food waste. This means that on the second day of the audit, more than half the waste found was food. Seeing so much uneaten and perfectly good food go to waste can be very upsetting.

After completing the waste audit, the members of the Eco Team regrouped to brainstorm ways to solve the waste problem in the school and generally make a green impact on the school. Ideas included implementing a bigger and more efficient composting system, using more eco-friendly utensils in the cafeteria, and offering smaller portions in the cafeteria for lowered prices. The team is already hard at work getting the composting system up and running.

Looking to the future, Eco Team wants to make changes to the cafeteria system to help reduce the school’s waste output and take advantage of the resources already available, such as the school garden, to make the school as green as possible. A member of Eco Team, Frank Murphy ’24 commented, “Eco Team has done well at setting attainable goals to improve the sustainability of our daily activities such as completing Sustainability Pathways set by the National Wildlife Federation in which we identify areas in which we can improve the eco-friendliness of our school operations and develop and apply practical solutions to make a difference.”

All in all, Eco Team has made good progress in the first semester of this year and is looking to make an even bigger impact in the final few months of school. Eco Team is also looking to expand, not only in the upper school but also in the middle and lower schools. 

So why join Eco Team? Frank Murphy ’24 says “You should join Eco Team because the environment is very beautiful, and it provides us with the resources we need to survive. If we do not protect it, we put ourselves in danger just as much as other species.” Pablo Charriez ’24, the student leader of the club, commented, “From an objective standpoint, our global climate is in real danger. That point is completely undebatable, and we’re already seeing the effects of climate change. At the heart of things, we’re simply trying to make advocacy for the climate more accessible. Because, as individuals, we can’t control global CO2 emissions, but as a collective, we have a fighting chance. So I guess we’re really just here to educate.”

So if you’re interested in the environment or you like to sort through trash, consider joining Eco Team. If you are still on the fence, members of the Eco Team will be talking to all grades and spreading information over the next few weeks about the club, so be on the lookout!