Going 'green' involves limb and leaf debris at TROY

Posted: Thursday, 25 April 2013

TROY – Troy University's efforts at sustainability reach even downed limbs on the Troy Campus.

The University is highlighting Earth Week 2013 with a series of events designed to promote environmental awareness and recycling, in cooperation with KW Plastics and City of Troy.

Many efforts – from lighting considerations, to construction to grounds management – include specific steps aimed at reducing the campus' carbon footprint, said Mark Salmon, director of the University's Physical Plant.

"We are working to look at ways we can be more sustainable in every process we have," he said.

One of those processes deals with limb debris removal on the campus, and has become a boon to fireplace owners in the city.

"We're cutting and stacking firewood. It's incredible to see the reduction in our waste stream caused simply by cutting debris into firewood length, stacking it and putting up a small sign that says 'Free Firewood'," he said.

For the past several years, the University has chipped limbs under six inches, stockpiling the results for use as mulch in flowerbeds on the campus. What was too big for the chipper was hauled away.

"Not only is the University saving transportation costs and landfill costs, its reducing the waste stream going into landfills," Salmon said. "Everybody loves firewood, and we're finding better uses for the debris than what we were before."

Other shifts in debris management include using some of it in erosion control measures around the campus.

"We're reclaiming this for use on campus and its finding its way back into the ecosystem rather than being dumped in a landfill," he said. "It's a move that makes sense financially and ecologically."