Members of Wilton Go Green (WGG) held a press conference yesterday (Tuesday, Jan. 30) to unveil several initiatives for 2018 and announce recent awards–both in grant money awarded to WGG and award titles for local volunteers.

Wilton Go Green Awarded with Three Grants for Zero Waste Schools Success

The success of the recently introduced Zero Waste Schools program has been so impressive that Wilton Go Green was awarded three grants recently to help it continue promoting and extending the program.

Wilton Go Green executive director Daphne Dixon said at a Tuesday morning press conference that the group had received a grant from Recycle CT, which will be used for a new food waste reduction software program called “Phood”; a $1,000 grant from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund; and $1,000 from the Wilton Woman’s Club to support extension of the Zero Waste initiative at Cider Mill and Wilton High School.

“There’s so much value in the Zero Waste Schools initiative, it’s a testament to all the work that everyone in the schools have done, with Wilton Go Green and the community,” Dixon said, adding, “We’re really leading the state in zero waste.”

The Zero Waste Schools initiative incorporates waste reduction through food donations, composting, recycling, and environmental conservation practices. Students have been learning about and implementing sustainable behaviors that can then be introduced at home, bringing the learning full-circle. Ambassadors and monitors are on hand during lunch periods to help students better understand which items to recycle, which to compost, and which to donate to the food pantry.

First introduced at Middlebrook Middle School at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year by culinary arts teacher Heather Priest, the recycling part of the program spread next to Miller-Driscoll Elementary (with extended rollout planned through 2020). Cider Mill joined the program after the December winter break, and Wilton High School waste stations will be installed in the spring.

Heather Priest (L) and Wilton Go Green member Eve Silverman

WGG board member Eve Silverman recognized the cooperation between the school communities and Chartwells Food Service, which has been doing extensive work behind the scenes to support the program, including consultant evaluations to maximize efficient recycling and composting, and other programs to monitor and minimize waste.

According to Dixon, implementing the Phood software program would be beneficial as it, “has helped generate tens of thousands of dollars in cost savings, drastically reduces environmental impact and has increased food donation efforts. It is revolutionizing our schools’ Zero Waste programs, and we’re so excited to have this program in place at Middlebrook School.”

Zero Waste Schools is a joint initiative between the Wilton Schools and Wilton Go Green, in partnership with Chartwells Food Service and Curbside Compost. It is funded by the Wilton School District, Wilton Go Green, and grants from the Wilton Women’s Club and RecycleCT. It is supported by the Center for Eco Technology and Connecticut Green LEAF schools, through which Middlebrook school achieved Green LEAF status last spring. The Zero Waste program will help bring Middlebrook well along the path to eligibility for the prestigious national Green Ribbon School designation offered through the Department of Education.

Right after winter break, the Wilton School district launched “Sustainability at WPS” pages on their website dedicated to the green activities at the Wilton Schools, as part of the district’s website upgrade.

WGG Revives Green Business Designation Program, with Bankwell Grant

Wilton’s Bankwell assistant branch manager Tapas Deb serves on the WGG Board and oversees the Green Business Designation Program. At the press conference, he announced that Bankwell recently donated $1,000 toward supporting the Green Business Designation program.

Deb will be leading up a workshop at the Wilton Library on Feb. 21, from 8-9:30 a.m. called “How Green Can Your Business Be?” The program will be run in partnership with the Wilton Chamber of Commerce.

Tapas Deb, Wilton Go Green board member and assistant manager of the Wilton Bankwell branch

WGG Presents 2018 Annual Awards

The awards bestowed by the organization at its annual meeting earlier in January went to:

Alison Badolato — Green Teacher Award (Miller-Driscoll teacher)
Libby Scaperotta — Green Student Award (WHS junior, WGG Board member and Zero Waste School leader)
José Figueroa — Zero Waste Hero Award (Wilton Schools’ head custodian)
Dawn Malkin — Green Angel Award
Sue Dorfman — Green Angel Award
Jacqueline Algon — Green Wizard Award