Did you know the average American dumps 60 pounds of clothing per year? Two seniors at Mount Carmel High School are devoting their time to a unique science project to help bring that statistic to light, specifically for Rancho Penasquitos youth.
AP Environmental Science instructor Mr. Dorr asks his students each year to conduct an experiment or test on a subject matter that impacts the environment. Seniors Alexis Arroyo and Anna Page, who sits on the Poway Unified School Board as the student representative, found a creative approach to the scientific method.
"We decided to start a thrift shop," Page told Patch. "We love thrifting!" added Arroyo, who's partnered with Page in the project.
The ambitious teens are combining science with do-good efforts, conducting analytical surveys on students regarding thrift shops, while donating the money earned back to the school.
"Most people don't know the environmental impact thrift stores have," Arroyo said, noting that on average, nationally, we each waste 60 pounds of clothing per year.
The girls will conduct surveys to determine if the Mount Carmel High population fits the national statistics of thrift shops and wastefulness, Page said. Survey questions will include:
- How many bags of clothing do you throw away each year?
- How often do you go thrifting?
- Do you know how many years it takes cotton to decompose?
"We think it will be similar [to the national statistics]," Page said. "I don't think people realize how much clothes they actually throw away."
"In reality, this can be really effective," Arroyo said of the thrift shop, noting trends come back every 20 years, making clothes indefinite. "We're eager to see the before and after results."
Apart from conducting research, Page and Arroyo are donating any money earned from the thrift store right back to Mount Carmel, specifically to Student Services and AP Environmental Science, which they say is in dire need of resources.
"[Student services] is the go-to organization on campus," Page said. "They're there if anyone needs anything—clothes, food."
After the girls hand in their quantitative research for AP Environmental Science, they say they hope the shop continues to thrive on campus, well after they've graduated and moved on to college.
"Ideally, it will be open next year," Page said, hopeful that other students will take it over.
"We'll keep it open most likely because it will be a hit!" added an enthusiastic Arroyo.
For now, the thrift shop makes its grand opening on March 19 and will be open to students and thrifters on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school and run by Page, Arroyo and volunteers. The shop, named MC Thrift Shop, will remain open for the experiment through the last week of April.
The thrift store will be located in room B5, which sits in front of the school, just left of flagpole.
The Mount Carmel seniors haven't faced any costs yet to running the store, but are always looking for donations and volunteers. Donations have come in from students and parents, but the ladies are still seeking more clothing, specifically larger sizes, men's clothing, hangers and tables.
But despite the hard work Page and Arroyo have faced with this project, science is still at the heart of it.
"Planning is fun," Page said. "But the statistics behind it... that's what I'm excited about."
Got items to donate or questions for the entrepreneurs? You can donate items by dropping them off at the front office of Mount Carmel High or email email@example.com.
Patch will keep you updated on Arroyo's and Page's scientific findings of the thrift shop and whether or not their efforts will be continued on next year.