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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Westfield first in DNR green program

From an article by Jen McCoy in the Portage Daily Register:

Because the Westfield School District continues to demonstrate a high level ecological stewardship, it became the first school to enroll into a state program dedicated to superior environmental performance among businesses.

"For a school district to say, ‘We're going to start managing our full environmental footstep,' that's a big step," said Mark McDermid, cooperative environmental assistance bureau director for the Department of Natural Resources.

Westfield applied for and was accepted into Wisconsin's Green Tier program, run under the DNR, which encourages businesses to move beyond regulatory compliance and promote superior environmental performance. About 30 businesses are in the program.

"We got recognized for what we already achieved, and we're going to prove what we can accomplish in the future," said Scott Peterson, district transportation director.

In 2008, the district began producing biodiesel for district transportation needs from oil donated by local restaurants and businesses. The biodiesel reduced emissions by about 70 percent compared with petro-diesel and saved the district at least $100,000. To further reduce waste, the district turns glycerin, a byproduct of the biodiesel production process, into earth-friendly hand and laundry soaps sold in area stores, such as Pierce's in Portage.

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