16 October 2019

World Food Day

Nikita Shulga

“We hope that every school will become a member of a zero-waste programme.”



Nikita Shulga, 13, is a student in Kiev, Ukraine. He grew tired of seeing barren ground in his neighborhood, where there should have been urban greenery.

Nikita also knew that his country was dealing with an over-abundance of trash and thought of a way to make use of the food scraps produced at his school.

Nikita and a friend, Sophia-Khrystyna Borysiuk, also 13, started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a composting machine for their school. They raised so much money, so quickly, that they were able to fund composting machines for several other schools.

They launched the Compola project, a waste management start-up that, thanks to growing support from local institutions and the money from an urban-action grant, went on to deliver composting machines to more than 230 schools in Ukraine by May 2019.

The schools, which account for some 100-thousand students in Ukraine, use the composting stations to recycle school cafeteria waste, such as fruit and vegetable peelings and porridge. They use the compost to restore nutrients to soil and trees.

Nikita’s school, alone, produces some 17 500 tons of food waste per year.

“In December 2017 we installed the composter in our school and after nine months we had the first organic fertilizer.”

Nikita and Sophia-Khrystyna were among 50 “Teenovators” who brought their ideas to the Global Food Innovation Summit organized last May in Milan by Seeds&Chips, an Italian start-up which concerns itself with issues surrounding the challenges of sustainable food production, distribution and consumption.

The Ukrainian teenagers say there was no composting in urban areas when they began their project  They are now hopeful that, ultimately, there will be a composter in every one of Ukraine’s 18 000 schools.

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