Trashy Goals

Junior Makayla Gasper is launching an initiative to educate others on sustainability.


Makayla Gasper

Junior Makayla Gasper and her friends, Karsyn Welcher (12), Laney Robinson (11), Anna Werner (12), and Alexis McTaggart (11), conduct a waste audit at the high school.

Gavin Drees, Web Master

Trash isn’t something the average person thinks about every day. However, for junior Makayla Gasper, trash plays a significant role in her life.

Feb. 7, through Instagram and her website, Gasper launched ProjectR, where she shares sustainable practices such as her composting efforts and eco-friendly clothing recommendations.

“I’ve always been interested in sustainability,” Gasper said. “I find it very important to find small ways to protect Earth, especially if it’s just an easy switch like composting.”

Compost Infographic by Gavin Drees

Created to reduce the school’s carbon footprint, ProjectWest, part of ProjectR, has driven Gasper to lead a waste audit at the high school and meet with two local compost experts to discuss what a compost system at West Delaware could look like.

“I wanted to learn how much we’re sending to the landfill that doesn’t need to be sent there and, instead, could be composted,” Gasper said. “I had two meetings with the administrators, and we’re talking about different ways to reduce our waste.” 

Gasper believes that a compost system for West Delaware could cut West Delaware’s waste. While plans aren’t finalized yet, school administrators are considering Gasper’s ideas for a school compost system.

“The final format hasn’t been drawn up yet,” Gasper said. “I looked at Central City’s compost system for ideas, and I liked their on-site location for ease and student involvement.”

In addition to a potential school compost system, Gasper discussed with Food Service Director Kim Sperfslage if the school could use other types of plastic in the cafeteria, as a significant amount of plastics used for food is non-recyclable. 

“I can confidently say that a majority of the trash we produce is single-use plastics that are used for fruit,” Gasper said. “Reducing this would significantly bring down our waste output. However, recyclable plastics are more than double the price of those we use now.”

Over the next couple of weeks, as part of ProjectWest, Gasper plans to continue work with the school, hoping to receive approval on her compost system.

“I’m very excited to immerse the student body in a move towards a more eco-friendly lunch system,” Gasper said. “I feel like this will be a good step to educate the student body and staff about the benefits of composting.”

However, for Gasper, ProjectR is just the beginning. After high school, Gasper plans to pursue environmental biotechnology and collaborate with companies to strive for sustainability.

“My interest in the environment has always been there since I was younger,” Gasper said. “I have always cared about things I can do to help the environment. I feel like there is a need to do that right now, and I’d like to be part of that change.”