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By Eloise Reid
Harwood Union High School's brand-new Environmental Club takes on their first challenge towards creating a more environmentally friendly and sustainable high school. Harwood students formed the Environmental Club (fall 2007) to enhance their school and educate their classmates in the areas of composting, recycling, energy efficiency and sustainability in their campus. Like many other high schools in Vermont, such as Montpelier High School, Harwood Union's students are looking forward to "greening up" their school.
The first project that the club is undertaking is called "Trash on the Lawn Day." With the help of faculty, students, custodians, the cafeteria staff, and the Association of Vermont Recyclers, students will work together to see how much trash is produced on average in one day at school. This project is a two-or-more day event that starts with the students and the custodial staff working together to collect all the trash and recycling that is produced during the school hours at the end of one school day. Then they will save it overnight in the school's dump truck, and work all through the next day to sort the trash into three piles: compost, recycling, and waste.
When the piles are sorted the students will weigh the amount of compost, recycling and waste, and then send the compost for processing and distribution. The recycling will be sent out to get sorted and, finally, the waste will go to the Moretown Landfill. This way Harwood students will become more aware of how much they could be recycling or composting in an average school day.
Trash on the Lawn Day is an event intended to raise awareness of waste management with emphasis on increasing the amount of composting at Harwood. The students will be finding the quantity of organics (compostable items) from Trash on the Lawn Day, and then work on the broader plan of starting an on-site, student-run composting facility. The next steps would include placing and building a bin, organizing a collecting system, and educating students and faculty on what materials to compost and methods on how to do it.