Sustainability Program Brings High Schools Together

Teaching students about being environmentally conscious, The Future is Circular program aims to fuel student passions about sustainability and circular economy.

Gathering new students together, junior Lydia Vizza organizes workshops with The Future is Circular program with the hope for students to learn about sustainability and the circular economy.
According to, circular economy is an economic system that aims to get rid of waste. “A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems,” MacArthur said.
According to Plymouth Whitemarsh junior, Victoria Brach, The Future is Circular program aims to teach students about sustainability through hands on experiences. Brach works with Vizza on the program.
“It’s a really unique event in general. I love how it would open up discussions about sustainability within a school and across multiple schools,” Brach said.
Vizza and Brach bridge the gap between their schools by providing hands-on workshops, including the trash dump, which they held back in November.
“We had students from Souderton and students from Plymouth Whitemarsh. We broke everyone up, and everyone got to meet someone new,” Vizza said.
According to Vizza, the trash dump involved laying all the school trash from the day on tables, and allowing Director of Sustainability at IKEA Lisa Davis, to walk students through the process that each type of item would go through after being thrown away.
“All of that stuff she walked us through was supposed to trigger thought and to get students to think of ways that we can make our school more circular,” Vizza said.
The event led to the students deciding to implement a terracycle program.
According to Vizza, terracycle programs are programs that collect materials that would not be recycled to be sent back to companies so they can be reused.
“I really wanted to implement this program at Souderton because I had seen terracycle programs at my brother’s college,” Vizza said, “and I thought that it would be really cool to bring it here.”
Vizza decided to use the grant that she received from Chick-Fil-A’s impact project program to go towards implementing the program.
Throughout the process, Pathways Coordinator Amy Tarlo, has been guiding Vizza to make the program a reality.
According to Tarlo, Vizza came to her in the summer to ask about implementing The Future is Circular program at Souderton.
“Lydia was very passionate about bringing schools together to work on a common project,” Tarlo said. “The fact that it would give students the opportunity to see what this could be like in the real world if they decide to pursue a career in this capacity of sustainability and circular economy, and how it all comes together.”
According to Brach, she was very enthusiastic about getting involved in the program.
“I care a lot about the environment and sustainability, and it was something I really wanted to bring to my school,” Brach said.
According to Tarlo, the program will allow students to work on a project they are passionate about and to learn more about the growing career field for sustainability in businesses.
“These [sustainability roles] are new positions being created, for kids to see how… they will be hiring for the next four years. There’s a good opportunity for them,” Tarlo said.