Hilton Central School District’s board of education recently adopted a zero-waste policy, and the Green Team 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 a 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,” Superintendent Casey Kosiorek said.
In order to launch the district’s zero-waste program, Hilton CSD has formed the Green Team, a recycling committee, and contracted with Impact Earth, a zero-waste solutions provider based in Rochester. For the past two years, Impact Earth has worked with school districts on trailblazing zero-waste initiatives, and most recently launched a commercial and residential organics hauling service to better meet the needs of its clients. Impact Earth has provided zero-waste solutions for businesses, venues, restaurants, food trucks and individuals since 2014.
These efforts are underway at the district. Initial programming included a districtwide waste assessment conducted by Impact Earth and Hilton CSD student and staff volunteers in January 2018 and zero-waste events in June. These events included picnics, sixth-grade graduations, a locker cleanout and donation event and a staff appreciation breakfast.
Teacher Laura Mayer and counselor Tina Colby have led 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,” Mayer said.
“We have seen how meaningful these programs can be for school districts and their communities,” said Sarah Quirk, zero-waste manager for Impact Earth. “We are excited to begin this journey together and make a real impact in the community.”