The Warm Hearth Village (WHV) Resident Green Committee, coordinated by resident Lyn Day, has initiated several efforts for a greener campus. From March through August 2020, WHV staff and residents participated in a plastic film recycling initiative sponsored by Trex, a major manufacturer of wood-alternative decking, railings and other outdoor items made from recycled materials. Trex proudly sponsors local recycling programs in universities and communities throughout the country. The Village used Trex-provided promotional materials and recycling bins in three areas to collect plastic that cannot be recycled in conventional bins. Committee members gathered the plastic each day, weighed it each month and delivered it to a participating drop-off retailer. Acceptable materials included grocery bags, bread bags, case overwrap, dry cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, ice bags, wood pellet bags, zip lock & other re-sealable bags, produce bags, bubble wrap, salt bags, and cereal bags. Once 500 pounds of plastic (about 40,500 plastic bags), were collected in a six-month period, the Village would qualify to receive a high-performance composite bench.
The bench is worth $250 to $300 depending on the model. On August 22, the committee notified Trex they had reached the goal and the bench was delivered November 12. The bench is set in the breezeway at the Village Center entrance, for all to enjoy. Heather Gearhart, WHV Vice-President, is the committee’s staff representative. “All their hard work has paid off with less waste in the landfill and Warm Hearth has a beautiful addition to our campus to show for it. I am so proud of the Green Committee,” Gearhart said.
This resident-led committee has been awarded a second bench. Every six months, they can apply to collect for a new bench and plan to continue because the program has been so successful.
This is just one of the Committee’s efforts to create a greener campus. They have installed junk mail receptacles near the mail boxes in the apartment buildings and Showalter Center for easy recycling. One member is soliciting bids for a third party to provide single stream recycling for the Kroontje Health Care Center and several members clear invasive species the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. In addition, a list of plants has been created to add to the pollinator garden and a list of perennials that can be planted in place of annuals to reduce the amount of maintenance needed. To help Villagers save electricity, the AEP eScore Program reviews energy efficiency in residences and provides a report for either WHV maintenance or the homeowner to correct. WHV staff has also arranged for residents to leave electronics to be taken for recycling.
Staff, resident and community collaboration contributes to Warm Hearth’s mission and vision of nurturing a transformative culture where people live and work in community, knowing their innovative, passionate contributions are essential to the success of the whole village, and even the world. These sustainable solutions do just that.