NewsPositively San Diego


Sustainability programs move into South Bay high schools

Posted at 10:01 AM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 13:01:32-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif, (KGTV) -- A Chula Vista nonprofit that focuses on sustainability has implemented compost programs at some local schools.

South Bay Sustainable Communities was created by South Bay native Tina Matthias, following her desire for a cleaner city. She came up with the idea for the nonprofit after visiting family in Taiwan.

"I threw a fruit seed into the wrong trash at my aunt’s and she got upset because now they're starting to sort their food and they get fined if it’s in the wrong bin. You won't find a single piece of trash on the ground and that's what we have to do here," said Matthias.

The 501(c)(3) first started in Matthias' neighborhood in 2020 when she started hosting compost education classes. Since then, she's coordinated trash clean-ups, organized hikes across San Diego County, and held eco-friendly workshops at local events.

Matthias quickly realized the youth played a big role in her efforts.

"I felt, 'Yes, we're doing work in the community’ but realized I need to talk to students because they're our future. Once this becomes habit, they take it home and teach their families and it spreads from there and then it’s lifelong," Matthias described.

The student-led program at local high schools is called Youth 4 a Sustainable Future. During lunch, students in the program collect perfectly good fruit to donate to local food banks. They also collect paper and food waste to disburse in their campus compost bin.

Sebastian Shaul, a junior in the program, said, "Y4SF collects fruit and food to make sure it doesn't go in landfill because once it goes there, it collects all this methane that goes into the atmosphere. The amount of awareness so far is huge, and I can see it growing big in the future."

Click here to learn more about South Bay Sustainable Communities