by Cori Hilsgen
Students at Kennedy Community started a new organics recycling program on March 20. They are taking all organic material and rerouting it to a composting facility, away from a landfill.
The program is coordinated by science teacher Rick Wilson, head engineer Dave Ertl and the Youth Energy Summit students.
“I am always looking for ways to improve and get better in terms of personal self, curriculum and instruction, and whole school,” Wilson said.
He has been researching organic recycling for several years. Wilson and El Haus, the district building and grounds supervisor, coordinated to allow Kennedy students to be the first school to try organic recycling.
“I knew this was something simple everyone could do and (it) could make a huge difference,” Wilson said.
After the first week, students were recycling five yards of organic material that would have gone into a landfill each week. Students are filling about three to four 64-gallon containers daily. That is equal to about one yard of waste each day.
Kennedy has two 8-yard dumpsters that get picked up twice each week.
Wilson said the St. Cloud School district pays 27-percent tax on trash and no taxes on recycled materials.
“We pay per load, not per pound,” Wilson said. “Our goal is to reduce the number of times the waste is hauled.”
He said they will continue to try to improve the program.
“We will continue to revise and get better,” Wilson said. “We will continue to help young people understand what we are doing and why we are doing it to help them become better global citizens. We need people who are able to take care of our world because it’s the only one we have.”
Wilson also wants to encourage all local businesses that are currently throwing away a large amount of food waste and paper to look into organic recycling.
“The more people on board, the better it will be for everyone involved,” Wilson said.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.