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NYC Don’t Toss Me

Our journey to reducing food waste and building habits.

Ali Barfield, Melanie Cave, Gabi Taormina


Sci4NY came to us looking to educate communities in NYC around issues of science, specifically composting. They needed to invoke excitement and action all while ensuring access. We wanted to explore the issues around composting and food waste. We scoured the internet for information and came across the appalling fact that the value of food waste in homes is $144 billion annually. This inspired us to focus on homes, and think of ways we could make the biggest difference not just in the moment but for the future. How can we educate New Yorkers on composting, but more importantly, food waste?


NYC is the landscape for reducing food waste. Every neighborhood has a story and a community committed to maintaining it. We wanted to build up the connection to those communities through our neighborhood themed food waste reduction tips and activities. We know the problem with addressing composting directly is that NYC is lacking the infrastructure. That’s when we decided to turn to the step before composting, food waste. If we can work on reducing food waste then habits will be built and we can set up a future for children to be proactive and compost.


We came up with fun tips and illustrations that help reduce waste like ugly can be eaten safely inspired by the Upper East Side. For each illustration we have an activity page for kids to participate in. Some of our tips are focused around bigger picture actions like collecting food scraps to compost later on. The goal is for kids and families to always be thinking about how they can reduce their food waste and start building these small habits that lead to bigger change. We wanted to end on a point of growth. Reducing food waste and making these changes can be a slow process but it’s one where you can always see the progress and growth being made, much like a plant. We didn’t want to end with the activities we were able to come up with, we wanted to encourage kids and families to take initiative and constantly think of what they can do better. That’s why we decided to give them a call to action to come up with their own tips that they can submit to the Sci4NY Instagram.

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