Pewaukee, WI,
11:00 AM

Earth Day is every day at WCTC

Plates made from palm leaves? Yes. Compost recycling program? Of course. Green roofs? Absolutely.

That’s because Earth Day is every day at WCTC. The college has long been committed to energy efficiency, sustainability and using renewable energy. We incorporate these concepts into our classes. Our emphasis on sustainability makes us a good corporate citizen and helps our students prepare for jobs today and into the future. Let’s take a look at how WCTC respects and cares for this earth we call home.

Sun day, fun day. WCTC’s Pewaukee campus has four solar panels that help power our buildings – two are stationary and two move with the direction of the sun. Solar panels save energy and money, and they look pretty cool. But wait, there’s much more!

The campus’s Service (S) Building has two green (grass) roofs. Plants atop the roofs can survive for up to 21 days without rainfall. Without the green roofs, 100 percent of the rain water would end up in the storm sewer system. Because in terms of sustainability, less is definitely more.

Now let’s talk about retention ponds. You’ve seen them, right? They look bad, smell worse and are breeding grounds for summer’s greatest fun-killer: the mosquito. WCTC uses water infiltration cells, which are designed to absorb some water from every parking lot on campus. The cells eliminate the need for retention ponds. Huzzah!

Speaking of water, we have two rain gardens that help reduce stormwater runoff. One is located outside of the Business (B) Building and one outside the Graphics (G) Building. Plants in the gardens have roots up to 100 feet long! Or is it 100 feet down? You get the idea. The gardens keep water in the ground instead of feeding into a river or lake.

You know them, you love them – please welcome: LED lights. Known for their longevity, power reduction and cutoff capabilities, LED lights are installed both inside and outside of WCTC buildings. Oh, and they limit light pollution!

We’ve all been there – stuck in a remote area with a dead cellphone battery and not a power outlet in site. Well fear no more, because students enrolled in WCTC’s Industrial Electrician Apprenticeship program can come to your rescue with their traveling solar power trailer. The trailer, built by students, is used to power tools and other equipment on the job site. Let there be power!

From peach pits to bone bits – let’s talk about organic waste. WCTC’s culinary program takes advantage of a local compost recycling program that helps keep food waste from landfills. Biodegradable compost bags are located in every culinary kitchen and bins are picked up on a regular schedule. Table scraps never looked so good.

What’s that smell? To tackle odor issues, the college’s first resort is home remedies like baking soda or vinegar. All of our cleaning products are “green” or water-based. Bleach is only used in restrooms and we avoid using fragrant cleaning products.

Last but certainly not least, let’s talk cutlery. Yes, cutlery. Plastic is out, palm leaves and corn are in, you see. By that we mean plates made of palm leaves and forks made of corn – the latter of which use 73 percent less plastic than traditional disposable cutlery. These are just two examples of how our culinary program is embracing eco-friendly kitchen supplies. So start corning around and stick a fork in plastic, it’s done.

So when we said “last but certainly not least” we were lying. Other initiatives at WCTC include campus-wide recycling of paper, bottles and cans, eco-friendly hand dryers and recycled brown paper towels. All of these efforts keep us grounded in doing what’s right for our planet.

Happy Earth Day!