Hilton Schools Initiate Zero Waste Program

By on July 27, 2018
Students in Katie Paxton-Johnson’s class at Quest Elementary School packed zero-waste lunches using all re-usable containers. Shown are: (l-r) Morgan Meyer, Sophia Sciortino and Stella Gebbie. Provided photo.

Students in Katie Paxton-Johnson’s class at Quest Elementary School packed zero-waste lunches using all re-usable containers. Shown are: (l-r) Morgan Meyer, Sophia Sciortino and Stella Gebbie. Provided photo.

At its June 12 meeting, the Hilton Board of Education adopted a Zero Waste Policy and the Hilton School District Green Team has wasted no time in putting the policy into action.

The policy states that “the Hilton School District Board of Education recognizes the importance of a zero waste initiative and is committed to the development and implementation of a zero waste policy and process throughout the district for the purpose of reducing waste, energy and greenhouse gases.”

The goal of this policy is to achieve 80 percent landfill diversion throughout the district, meaning that 80 percent of the materials produced and disposed of within the district would be recycled, reused, or composted. The district will maintain an innovative program to reduce waste by its facilities, and provide education for staff and students on zero waste best practices.

Zero waste is a state in which the reduction of waste production, landfill diversion rate, and incinerator diversion rate of an institution are maximized. It encompasses a complete life cycle of resources such that no resources are discarded, and all resources are reused for another purpose.

“The district is very excited to take the next step in making an impact in our community by working toward supporting the development of future sustainably-minded generations that take care of our earth,” said Hilton CSD Superintendent Dr. Casey Kosiorek.

In order to launch the district’s zero waste program, Hilton CSD has formed the Green Team, a recycling committee, and has contracted with Impact Earth, a Rochester-based zero waste solutions provider. For the past two years, Impact Earth has been working with school districts on trailblazing zero waste initiatives and most recently has launched a commercial and residential organics hauling service to better meet the needs of their clients. Impact Earth has provided zero waste solutions for businesses, venues, restaurants, food trucks, and individuals since 2014.

These efforts are already underway at the district. Initial programming has included a district-wide waste assessment conducted by Impact Earth and HCSD student and staff volunteers in January 2018, and a few end-of-the-year zero waste events hosted in June. These events included picnics, sixth grade graduations, a locker clean-out and donation event, and a staff appreciation breakfast.

Teacher Laura Mayer and School Counselor Tina Colby have been leading the Green Team since its inception and said they are looking forward to working with students and staff, in collaboration with Impact Earth, to change the district’s waste practices. “Beginning in the fall, all school buildings will be involved in new cafeteria procedures for which students, teachers and staff will be trained with the goal of reducing the waste we put into landfills,” said Mayer.

“We have seen how meaningful these programs can be for school districts and their communities,” says Sarah Quirk, Impact Earth’s zero waste manager, “and we are excited to begin this journey together and make a real impact in the community.”

Provided information

Students at Northwood Elementary School (front, l-r) Meredith Harnden, David Padolesski, Evelynn Smolinski and Reilly Deming worked with the team from Impact Earth, Robert Putney, Elias Putney and Tom Mangialino, on a waste audit. Provided photo.

Students at Northwood Elementary School (front, l-r) Meredith Harnden, David Padolesski, Evelynn Smolinski and Reilly Deming worked with the team from Impact Earth, Robert Putney, Elias Putney and Tom Mangialino, on a waste audit. Provided photo.

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