Spring 2021 Sustainability Fellow: Hannah Mendillo

Laurelin Haas
Expanding Composting Slide 1

Partner: Leon County Office of Sustainability

Project: Identify Opportunities to Expand Community Composting

Student: Hannah Mendillo, first year graduate student in Urban and Regional Planning

In Spring 2021, Hannah helped implement two pilot composting programs and provided recommendations for community composting expansion for the Leon County Office of Sustainability. Hannah was excited to work on a project related to sustainability and building a better community because she hopes to pursue a career in environmental planning. 

Hannah worked with Tobias Raether, Sustainability Programs Coordinator, and other members of the Office of Sustainability team. The Leon County Office of Sustainability aims to enhance the community’s environmental, economic, and social resilience.

In Leon County, an estimated 30,000 tons of food gets sent to the landfill each year, and Hannah was tasked with helping the team launch two new composting opportunities over the course of the semester.

“This project was especially challenging because there were so many moving parts,” said Tobias. “Hannah always adapted and went along with things, and she took on new and creative ideas with a lot of great energy.”

Hannah's recommendations for creating more community engagement

In collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, Hannah helped with the opening of a new pilot compost drop-off site and a community compost bin sale. She created surveys, site procedures, social media posts, email communications, and more.

Hannah also researched opportunities for future compost drop-off sites and provided recommendations for fostering more community engagement in the future. Finally, Hannah researched curbside composting best practices in other cities to provide Leon County with several options for expansion.

 “This experience has helped me figure out if city planning in name is what I want to do or not,” said Hannah. “After the Fellowship, I’m leaning more towards sustainability and less towards site plans. I learned that I really like working on projects, and I’d like my work to much more directly involve environmental aspects.”

The Office of Sustainability team will continue to use the results of Hannah’s surveys to inform future decisions, and they are also excited to explore the three scenarios Hannah proposed in more detail. The team felt that all of Hannah’s recommendations were realistic and good options for the program as it expands.

To learn more about the Leon County Office of Sustainability's composting efforts, visit cms.leoncountyfl.gov

To learn more about the Sustainability Fellows program, visit sustainablecampus.fsu.edu/sustainability-fellows