Environmental Leadership Program youth group organizes event to celebrate outreach success


Abdi Abdisemend and fellow students in the Yesler Environmental Leadership Group tour a recycling plant as part of their environmental stewardship education.

The Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), which operates its own solid waste services for residents, announced today that it now offers on-site food and yard waste collection at all of its properties. All 6,889 households living at 325 communities managed by SHA can now separate out compostable waste from their garbage. In 2015, SHA has diverted more than 600 tons of food scraps and yard waste from landfills.

The majority of the food and yard waste collected by SHA is delivered to Cedar Grove Composting, where it is turned into healthy soil for local parks and gardens. By keeping composting waste out of landfills, SHA residents are also contributing to lower landfill costs and lower amounts of the damaging greenhouse gas methane, which is emitted at higher levels when food and yard waste breaks down in landfills rather than going through a composting process.

“Seattle Public Utilities is pleased that Seattle Housing Authority is joining the City of Seattle in creating a world class sustainable city for all of Seattle’s residents by offering food and yard waste collection to all residents living in communities managed by the Seattle Housing Authority. Food waste composting is the City’s highest solid waste priority at this point,” said Tim Croll, Solid Waste Director for Seattle Public Utilities.

In addition to meeting its goal of composting availability at 100 percent of its properties, SHA created the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) in partnership with the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department’s Student Teen Employment Preparation (STEP). Since the program began in 2014, 42 youth at six SHA communities – High Point, Rainier Vista, NewHolly, Cedarvale Village, Jackson Park Village and Yesler Terrace – have reached more than 1,100 SHA households to date with education, tools and incentives to reduce and properly separate their household waste.

Environmental Leadership Program youth at Yesler Terrace have scheduled a community event for Saturday, December 12 where they will offer composting lessons, green art activities, games and prizes, indoor plant planting, food and healthy smoothies. The entire event has been planned, created and led by the youth in the group.

“We hope our community comes to ‘Say Yes to a Green Yesler’ to learn more about the environment and environmental issues,” said participant Sumaya Mohamed, a high school sophomore who has lived at Yesler for 11 years. The youth group at Yesler worked through pouring rain last Saturday to meet their goal of delivering kitchen compost bins to every single household in Yesler before the upcoming community celebration event.

“Offering food waste collection at the properties Seattle Housing Authority manages is a continuation of our agency-wide commitment to reduce our environmental impact and foster thriving, healthy communities for the people we serve,” said Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of SHA. “I’m especially proud of our teen residents who have learned about environmental stewardship and are taking those lessons out to all of our residents.”

Media contact:
Kerry Coughlin

About the Seattle Housing Authority
The mission of the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) is to enhance the Seattle community by creating and sustaining decent, safe and affordable living environments that foster stability and self-sufficiency for people with low incomes. SHA provides long-term, low-income rental housing and rental assistance to more than 29,000 people in the City of Seattle. SHA owns and operates approximately 9,000 units at more than 400 sites throughout the city. SHA also handles more than 10,000 Housing Choice Vouchers (also known as Section 8), enabling low-income residents to receive rental assistance in the private housing market. Approximately 11,000 SHA residents are elderly or disabled and about 9,500 are children. SHA, a public corporation established in 1939, is governed by a seven-member Board of Commissioners, two of whom are SHA residents. Commissioners are appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council.


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Seattle Housing Authority

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