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Student environmentalist earns $50,000 grant

Student environmentalist earns $50,000 grant

Food Giant General Mills awarded the funds in support of composting practices and education throughout South Florida.

July 19, 2019 at 2:30pm

Last year, FIU Magazine introduced the world to Ugo Angeletti. The ambitious sophomore has sparked a new wave of environmentalism in Miami through his nonprofit organization back2earth, which encourages composting.

The organization started by Angeletti and his three sisters provides buckets to homeowners to begin community and at-home composting at home using food scraps such as bread crusts, eggshells, coffee grounds and fruit rinds. The goal is to reduce the harmful methane gases that occur when organic waste decomposes alongside other rubbish in landfills.

Their mission to “grow gardens, not landfills,” has attracted national recognition. Food giant General Mills in May granted the nonprofit a $50,000 grant as part of its 2019 Feeding Better Futures Scholars Program.

To date, back2earth has collected more than 11,000 pounds of food waste as part of its community composting program.

“That’s 500 houses that use back2earth’s food waste drop-off program, enabling them to compost in an easy, accessible and free way,” says Angeletti, who calls the grant a win for Miami.

The award will be used, in part, to fund the nonprofit’s workshops—which teach people how to turn their waste into compost and utilize it in their own backyards in lieu of taking it to a collection site—as well as other educational activities.

Currently, back2earth hosts three collections stations in South Florida with a fourth set to debut. More are expected to open before the end of the year. Angeletti hopes to take his idea nationally.

We want to start inspiring others, beyond Miami, to start their own back2earth compost station in their own community. The only way we can truly solve this issue is by doing it collectively.”

Angeletti researching ways to help make Miami greener after learning about the effects of unsustainable agriculture and improper waste management while still a high school student.

“For far too long, we have seen policies that don’t benefit the environment, but rather damage it,” he says. “Now, with back2earth, we can definitely say change is coming.”


Pictured above, left, in glasses, with his sister Emma, Ugo Angeletti receives a big check from General Mills chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening. “We’re proud to combine the ideas and passion of these young leaders with General Mills’ ability to scale,” Harmening said in an announcement. “Together, we can turn small steps into big impact.”


Ugo Angeletti