Restore Plan - Project Sustain

I am the founder Restore Plan and Project Sustain.

Photo of Emmett Seto
2 3

Written by

Eligibility: Please confirm you meet all the following criteria

  • You are aged between 14 - 18 as of August 1, 2020
  • You live in the United States or its territories
  • You are not employed by, or directly related (grand parents, parents or siblings) to a current General Motors (GM) or Ashoka employee
  • You have been working on this project for at least three months
  • You consent to us possibly featuring your work on social media
  • You confirm you have the rights to use and share any content uploaded on this entry form

Eligibility: Date of Birth

June 7, 2004

What gender do you identify with?

  • Male

Help us stay in touch!

Email: Phone Number: (702) - 202 - 5052

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Website: Philadelphia Chapter Website: Project Sustain:

Date You Started Your Project Started

October 3, 2019

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Environmental issues including pollution, climate change and animal extinction are becoming more prevalent as less actions are being done to combat them. Many individuals are unaware of the detrimental consequences, and most people even contribute to these problems without recognizing it. The Department of Agriculture reported U.S. waste 133 billion pounds of food per year. Food waste is just one of the many urgent environmental issues.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Our non-profit organization, Restore Plan, spreads awareness and helps the conservation of our planet from the most pressing environmental issues. To help spread awareness, we sell products representing different environmental concerns in which the profits will be donated to help combat these issues. We hold community clean up events. Throughout the United States, Restore Plan currently has two chapters located in Pennsylvania and Georgia which is run by students. Apart from our dedication to help spread awareness and conserve the planet, we create projects that help solve prevalent environmental issues. Our current project, Project Sustain, proposes a solution to help cut down food waste for a school. The World Wildlife Fund reported schools waste 530,000 tons of food per year. A study, published from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reported students with less than 20 minutes to eat school lunches consume significantly less of their lunches. Project Sustain is a contraption that provides an efficient way for students to receive their lunch which can reduce the amount of wasted food.

3. Using STEM as a force of good: Please specify how are you using STEM to solve for an environmental challenge you are passionate about.

Restore Plan will be incorporating multiple mechanics found in different STEM fields through our projects and our app. Our app which will be ready to launch in August will utilize computer programming languages to create it. Our project, Project Sustain is inspired by the engineering of the assembly line and the conveyor belt. Engineering will be applied when building the interior conveyor belts and the opening doors. Concurrently, our project employs the computer programming found in databases and apps, such as Google News. Since Project Sustain will have scanners attached to the doors which students will scan their Student ID, it will require computer programming to recognize when to open and close the door while compiling all of the information in one central location. Since many schools require students to pay for their lunch, Project Sustain will have a payment system incorporated into the scanning. Once a student scans their student ID, the payment process will be withdrawn from the student's balance.

4. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

At my high school during lunch, I would see staff members gather a large number of trash bags just in a span of thirty minutes. Surprisingly, most of the trash contained untouched food. I was confused and alarmed at the massive amount of food wasted. The following day, it became obvious to me that most of the students who threw away their food barely had time to eat due to the limited time after waiting in line and receiving their meal. It inspired me to create Project Sustain with a group of students. When I was researching more into food waste, I was also learning more about the environment and found that food waste was not the only prevalent issue. As a result, I wanted to take action. In the beginning, I started off volunteering at events and then organizing my own local community clean up events till eventually creating Restore Plan.

5. Video (Keep it simple, a video made on a hand-held phone is great): Please upload a 1-minute video to YouTube that answers the following “I am stepping up to be a Changemaker because...”

This video explains the actions I am taking to be a Changemaker.

6. Please highlight the key activities you have carried out to bring your project to life.

We have contacted multiple manufacturers regarding how to make our products more eco-friendly than it already is. We added two new products to spread awareness for two more concerns. For Restore Plan’s Project Sustain, we gathered hundreds of surveys from students in our high school and surrounding high schools and middle schools. We are currently creating a proposition to pitch to our local school district to implement our project to their school cafeterias.

7. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our non-profit organization is able to raise the awareness of environmental issues by creating monthly events and donating to environmental organizations. In addition to having a greater impact, our organization creates chapters in different states to spread the awareness to a larger audience. All of our chapters are organized and run by high school and middle school students. Currently, we have a chapter in Georgia and Pennsylvania. Apart from the chapters, projects which welcome students to be a part of are created to help to solve prevalent environmental issues.

8. Impact: In the last three months, please detail the impact your project has made?

Restore Plan has created two chapters located in Pennsylvania and Georgia the past few months. We have one upcoming chapter located in Connecticut. Our Georgia chapter and Pennsylvania chapter are currently run by students with our support. We have sold many products the past three months. However, due to Covid-19, we weren’t able to host the community clean-up event planned in April. We have also added new members to our chapters and Project Sustain. With our new members, we are currently gathering more data and surveys from schools in different states. Synthesizing this data, we are improving the project and looking for partnerships and sponsorships. Our primary goal is to create a proposition to pitch to many school districts to help reduce the food waste in school cafeterias.

9. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Restore Plan’s future goals are to expand and create more chapters in different states. To take Restore Plan to the next level, we intend to add more products to help spread awareness for different environmental issues. To educate the youth students, we will be contacting our local schools to present current environmental issues and how students can get involved in helping solve these problems. For Project Sustain, we will try to recruit new members from different states to gather new data and surveys regarding school lunches. We plan to contact companies and hopefully create partnerships and sponsorships. In the future, Project Sustain can be pitched to multiple school districts from different states to help reduce the school’s food waste.

10. Please share how you have influenced other young people to get involved in your project and/or care about environmental sustainability.

Since we created the non-profit organization, we have been able to create chapters run by middle school and high school students in different cities. Additionally, we have spread the awareness of our organization and current project to our school classes and clubs. Through word of mouth and our website, we were able to add new members to our chapter and organization.

11. Please share ideas of how you can partner with other changemakers to make a difference?

We would like to partner with other changemakers who share similar goals with us. Other changemakers have created non-profit organizations, and we would like to partner with them to spread our message to a larger audience. Many changemakers can provide feedback regarding Project Sustain and ways to improve with the project. We can partner up to collect new data and surveys from different schools.

12. How would you engage others who have never heard about your project to get their buy-in?

Through the use of social media, we are able to pitch our organization and ideas to a large number of people. Additionally, presenting to schools is a great way to spread through word of mouth and make more young adults and students involved. In addition when our organization creates events, we can contact local news stations to see if they would be interested in pitching our events. As for those interested in participating in our projects, they are able to sign up through our website.

13. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Sales
  • Donations between $100-$1k


Sara Kroboth: ( I don't have her phone number due to her being my school teacher. Ivy Seto: (702) 968 - 7828 Angel Li: (860) 989 - 3572

Are you employed, or directly related (grand-parents, parents, sibling) to a GM or Ashoka employee?

  • No

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or General Motors, who was it?

We discovered the challenge from our school teacher, Filomena Vine.

Complete this evaluation to see the results from the rest of the community

The community is currently evaluating this idea.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Maxwell Feldman

I really like your personal connection to this project and the way you are engaging all members of your community!

View all comments