Wooster School Supports Green Initiatives
Aug 01, 2017 04:14AM
Wooster School’s long tradition as a self-help school is built on a culture of community involvement and enhancement. This in turn feeds a direct need to care for the local and global environment through conservation and recycling efforts. The Danbury-based school’s goal is to recycle everything possible on campus and to make thoughtful choices about best practices for disposables and food waste.
Through hands-on experience, students gain an understanding of the value of maintaining the campus’ well-being; they then take the skills and sensibilities learned at Wooster School out into the workforce to enact a wave of change in the industries they go on to work for/in.
Embodying a healthy, safe and sustainable dining lifestyle means preparing foods from whole, fresh ingredients; limiting the use of processed foods; and avoiding products containing artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and high levels of sodium. The school uses cleaning products which contain less packaging and are significantly less toxic to the environment than conventional chemicals. Another example is napkins on campus, which are made from 100 percent recycled materials. Campus gardens are used as a resource for food and herbs, as well as sustainability programming and nutrition education. Food scraps from the school kitchen and dining room are picked up weekly by a local, large-scale composting facility; the facility then mixes the food scraps with horse manure and wood chips to produce high-quality garden mulch. This process comes full circle when the school uses this nutrient-rich compost in the community vegetable garden and on flower beds throughout campus.
Recycling on campus includes all paper, cardboard, plastic and glass. Recycling bins are paired with every trash bin for strategic visibility and ease of use. Sorting and properly disposing of all recyclables is handled by students during Wooster School’s “jobs program”. Additionally, non-rechargeable batteries are collected monthly in a bin and sent to be recycled by a company which maintains all applicable state and federal certifications to comply with environmental laws.
Low-voltage compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs are used campus-wide to reduce electricity consumption while classroom lighting is motion-activated and will turn on and off as needed.
In addition, the school uses real plates and stainless flatware to reduce plastic landfill waste. Several high-use water fountains on campus have been fitted with bottle filling fountains to facilitate reusable personal water containers. Gym vending machines were replaced with H.U.M.A.N. vending, which offers more nutritious options that are lower in sodium and sugar. Athletic teams bring reusable water bottles to games and practices to cut down on plastic waste.
Wooster School has been recognized for its green initiatives. It received the 2016 TownVibe Green Award - Honorable Mention, which was awarded for overall campus-wide attention to green initiatives, and particularly recycling and composting. The school is enrolled in the Green Restaurant Association and has been awarded 2 stars for implementing 18 beneficial environmental steps covering food, water, waste, energy, chemicals, disposables and building materials.
Wooster School is an independent, co-educational college preparatory day school, serving preschool through grade 12 students from Fairfield and Westchester Counties on its Danbury campus. To learn more, visit WoosterSchool.org. See ad, page 12.