A student intern asked to lead composting at Andover High School has become the face of Andover's composting effort as conventions and other communities line up to learn more about Andover's recycling efforts.
Rachel Bolton, an Andover High junior and intern with the Sustainable Andover committee, is expected to represent the town with high school senior Nick Gentile at MassRecycle's annual statewide conference on Tuesday, March 27 in Boxborough. This comes just weeks after Bolton spoke at the Toxic Action Center's "Environmental Action" conference at Northeastern University on March 3, according to Sustainable Andover co-founder Candy Dann.
Carrying the project forward from recent Andover High School graduate Hannah Krieger, Bolton spoke at the Environmental Action conference to show others how the project was started, how the town was involved, and how students were brought on board, according to Steve Fink, also a Sustainable Andover co-founder.
At the conference, Bolton spoke to many who were far older than her, but "everyone on the whole treated her like an adult," said Fink.
"She's clearly the leader in Andover, and everybody was willing to accept her as an equal in the room," said Fink. "She's been working with everyone making the system work, leading the kids. She's now a leading voice."
In Boxborough, Bolton and Gentile will share the stage with students from Manchester-Essex Regional School District to talk about their schools' recycling efforts, according to Dann.
"Andover and Manchester have collaborated together, learned from each other and have plans for future exchanges between students," said Dann via email. "This conference usually draws 300-plus professionals from the worlds of recycling, solid waste management, organics processing, environmental education and waste policy."
Later this year, Bolton and others will continue last year's school trash audits. Almost a year ago, students did audits of trash generated at lunch by Andover High School, Doherty Middle School and Bancroft Elementary School to see — and show others — how much trash generated daily can be composted, recycled or otherwise kept out of the trash. A goal of the project is to show the town how much it can save by hauling less trash and recycling or composting more.
This year, the trash audits will target all three of Andover's middle schools. They will take about two weeks to conduct, starting around late April or early May, according to Fink.
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