TROY — Environmental sustainability has come into the spotlight in Troy as a new student club works to incorporate composting and recycling programs.
During a monthly school district meeting on Tuesday, Owen Williams, a Senior at Troy High School, told district officials how the Environmental and Sustainability Club he has founded will work towards making the Trojans more environmentally conscious.
Williams stated that the club was started last year but was not able to kick off environmental programs before schools were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After “rebooting” over the summer, the club now consists of 19 high schoolers and five Troy alumni who are ready to hit the ground running with “green” goals of educating, recycling and composting daily.
Williams shared that a study he found shows that in schools in Minnesota, 24% of total waste was discovered to be food and 23.5% was recyclable paper.
78% of total waste could be composted, recycled or done away with without being added to a landfill, according to Williams.
In light of this knowledge, Williams announced that composting will be the club’s first priority and that they will add extra garbage cans in the cafeteria for compostable trash with posters informing students what materials can be composted.
Williams stated that the club plans to create a compost pile on school property for food, paper and especially paper towels from bathrooms, which he noted are “extremely compostable and very easy to compost” but a material Troy Area School District Maintenance Supervisor David Blair named as one of the school’s top waste contributors.
In November, the club will begin working with the Troy Lions Club to participate in a recycling program, Williams said.
Through the program, the club will work with both the school district and the community to recycle plastics.
Williams added that any proceeds made by the club or from recycling will be invested back into the school, saved for future projects such as potential solar panels or donated to support global sustainability efforts “like global warming or saving the rainforest.”
Looking to long term goals, Williams stated that the club hopes to use five concrete boxes located outside Troy’s Commons Building to grow vegetables or other plants and eventually hopes to establish a farm or area for indoor planting.
Williams explained that Troy’s composting and recycling programs will be started at the Jr./Sr. High School but that the Environmental and Sustainability Club desires to expand them to Troy’s primary and intermediate schools as well.
The Senior stressed that the club plans to implement the environmental programs without adding any extra work for school staff.
Williams added that the club will also strive for energy efficiency in the district, especially focusing on making sure that all electronic devices in the school are turned off at night.
The Environmental and Sustainability Club will also work to educate other students about “green” initiatives, according to Williams.
“We want to not only to do things but to get other people to want to do things with us and to educate and to increase awareness,” he said.