Summer 2022 Sustainability Fellow: Anna Lewis

Laurelin Haas
Anna Slide 1

Partner: Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP)

Project: Organics Rule Change Educational Material Development

Student: Anna Lewis, First Year Graduate Student in Urban and Regional Planning

In Summer 2022, Anna worked with the Florida Department of Environment Protection’s (FDEP) Division of Waste Management to create a one-page industry guidance document explaining changes to the Florida Organics Recycling Rule, Chapter 62-709, F.A.C.

Anna was interested in the Sustainability Fellows program because of the way it allows students to work with real-world partners on tangible projects and goals in the field of sustainable development.

Over the course of the summer, Anna collaborated with Chris Perry, Lauren O’Connor, and other members of the FDEP team. FDEP oversees the Florida Organics Recycling Rule, which discusses the criteria for organics recycling and composting activities in the state. Organic materials include pre-and post-consumer food waste, yard trash, manure, seaweed, and other materials. The rule was last updated in 2010 and was due for new changes in 2020.

As a Sustainability Fellow, Anna was tasked with synthesizing the most important changes from the 2010 version to the 2020 version of the Florida Organic Recycling Rule. To complete her project, she first researched and read through supplemental materials to inform the guidance of her one-page document. She reviewed the Organics Recycling Rule from 2010 and the proposed Draft Rule Changes document, comparing the differences between the two documents. She also looked at examples from other states that have comprehensive organics recycling infrastructure and legislation in place, specifically Oregon, California, and Texas.

Then, Anna put together a draft compost industry guidance one-page document. She worked with her FDEP partners to discuss section headers and the content synopsis, taking their feedback and adjusting the content accordingly. Finally, she laid out the format and graphic design elements using Adobe InDesign.

“It’s been many years since the rules have changed,” said Lauren, “so this resource is really helpful. I’m very impressed by how Anna’s put this together and how well she disseminated the information.”

Anna’s FDEP partners plan to share her one-page guidance document with interested stakeholders, some of whom have already requested information about the rule changes.

For Anna, the Sustainability Fellows experience was a great opportunity to delve into a sustainability experience outside of the classroom.

“This was a great real world application of the concepts and topics I’ve been learning about in class,” said Anna. “I really appreciate this Sustainable Campus program, and I think that FDEP is an amazing partner. I highly recommend any projects in the future with the Division of Waste Management.”   

To learn more about the FDEP's Division of Waste Management, visit

To learn more about the Sustainability Fellows program, visit