Why food composting can save Westchester’s taxpayer money, big time!

Food waste is around 40% of all waste from households, it is made up of mainly water, thus it is heavy. Garbage cost is calculated by weight. So all this water is costing the tax payer dearly.

Westchester’s garbage is being collected by the municipalities, brought to one of the several transfer stations within the county and from there it is transported in big trucks to the incinerator in Peekskill.

So basically, we are using fossil fuels  (garbage trucks get about 2.6 miles per gallon of diesel fuel) to truck water 50 miles north?

The far better solution would be to sort out all that water laden food waste and actually compost it.  Combine food waste with yard waste and  nature will give us black gold, aka compost.

The absolute best way is to do it right at home. Solon-Compost-Bin-4Have a little bin next to your sink and sort out all your food waste (no bones or meats though, home composters can’t handle that, commercial ones can)

And place that food waste in a ratio of 1 food waste to 3 leaves or woodchips into a composter. It can be a home made one, compost-4-940x626

or a commercially available one like these. And the rest is done by mother nature. Turning the mixture once in a while will introduce oxygen and thus help the bacteria to do a more efficient job. Earth_Machine_close

A few weeks later you will have lovely compost that can be used in your garden.

Most people are afraid that composting will be smelly or attract rodents. With all in life, if it is done right, there is none of that.

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Rye MS Cookies are Now Bag-free to Reduce Plastic Waste!

Rye Middle School has been sorting in their lunchroom for 5 months.

They are doing a fantastic job, decreasing the output of trash by 97%.

This has made the students very environmentally aware and they have embraced the spirit of the WFC recycling program.  After realizing that soft plastics are the only items coming out of the lunchroom that cannot be recycled, students Jack Acciavatti, Trevor Reno, and Caleb Tuckman took it upon themselves to get their food service to make a huge change.

 

Before their intervention, cookies were put in plastic bags and tied with plastic twists.   The boys noticed that the plastic bags and twists made up a huge portion of the items in the trash, and approached RMS principal, Ann Edwards, to change this.  Their efforts resulted in cookies being offered in a case without any plastic wrapping!

Great thinking boys… you have made a huge difference!

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Rye MS creative usage of unrecyclable chip bags !

Rye Middle School teachers have embraced the WFC sorting program in their school.  Chip bags are one of the soft plastic items that cannot be recycled and end up in the trash!

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But, teacher Julianne Corbalis has found a solution to this problem.  She collects chip bags and uses them to create guitar straps! The picture shows the beginning of one.

 

Science teacher John Borchert got into the act by using chip bags to make a garland.

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Great way to upcycle these difficult soft plastics…awesome job!

New Rochelle State of the City Speech by Mayor Bramson is going Waste Free

We Future Cycle has been for years working in the New Rochelle School District to bring environmental education and source separation to each of the 10 school buildings, reaching 11,500 students. And now, we are also hired by the City to bring these programs to City wide events. Kick off was the annual State of the City address on March 20th in the rotunda at City Hall.

The space was lined with tables laden with delicious sample foods highlighting New Rochelle restaurant. Becoming Zero Waste means to control what kind of packaging and plates and flatware is used. The equation is easy, what goes in, must come back out. Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle was working closely with the Mayor’s office to guide vendors toward choosing compostable alternatives to serve their delicious samples to the bustling crowd. Tooth picks and paper boats was an all compostable way of feeding people

Showing off alternatives while educating patrons about how simple separation of compostable material from recyclable ones can reduce garbage by over 90%. And people participated with gusto.

Instead of the regular 6 bags of garbage, we only had 2 bags of food waste for compost and 2 bags of commingled for recycling, barely a handful of non recyclable materials ended up in the trash can. Custodial staff was quite surprised and Mayor Bramson gave a beautiful shout out to We Future Cycle, recognizing our tireless effort to bringing more sustainable practices to these kind of events.

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Compost and Recycling (only temporarily in a black bag)

White Plains Church St Elementary Students scavenge through environmental information

We Future Cycle had the pleasure of taking 4th and 5th grade students of Church St. Elementary School in White Plains on an environmental Scavenger Hunt during indoor recess.  unnamed
The interest of the kids was immediately piqued by our colorful “Did you know?” posters.  The posters are filled with many details about our impact on the environment including how Westchester County disposes of all of our waste, the effect of plastics on our environment and effects of processing of aluminum.
The students would scavenge through all of the information on the posters and find the clues needed to complete a questionnaire. They were eager participants and very proud to be able to find the answers.
Asked at the end of the activity if they learned anything new, every participant answered with a resounding “YES!”.  All in all a great success…the kids had a lot of fun while learning a great deal.

New Rochelle Ward Green Team makes recycling posters to educate the whole school

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New Rochelle Ward Elementary school has a bustling green team, comprised of 35 3rd, 4th and 5th graders under the leadership of the Science teacher David Nodiff. It is a coveted position to be part of the green team and students actually have to write an essay at the beginning of the year to become part of it and not every applicant makes it.

Lunchroom recycling station helpers are members of the green team and they make sure that K and 1 students are sorting correctly. With great pride, gloves and a badge around their neck, they are making sure all material goes into the correct bin.

In order to help with the classroom and building wide recycling system, the green team decided to make a series of posters explaining some of the trickier details to the whole school through captive audience education. On stairs, where students are often lined up in an orderly fashion, with some delays if there is “traffic”, students tend to look around and Green Team students have now strategically placed information posters at these locations.

And it is working!

Students now know that only hard plastic items go into the green commingled bins. Soft plastic items like wrappers or baggies go into the trash. All paper and cardboard can go into the blue bin for paper recycling.

Thank you Ward Green Team for educating the whole school community!

 

New Rochelle Davis Elementary School replaces thousands of single use water cups with reusable bottles

Some of New Rochelle’s buildings have these stylish water fountains, where kids got a little cup if they wanted a drink.

New Rochelle Davis Elementary School decided to do something about these 1000 of paper cups and and under the leadership of Principal Anthony Brambrola and the PTA, every child was supplied with a reusable water bottle, decorated with the Davis Dolphin to encourage reusable rather then single serve when it came to going to one of their temporary water dispensers in the hallways.

This has cut down on the usage of literally thousands of small paper cups per day.

Thank you Davis PTA for investing not only in the water bottles, but also bringing this kind of sustainable thinking to the fabric of the school.

 

White Plains Post Rd students participate in Environmental Scavenger Hunt

We Future Cycle had the pleasure of taking the 4th grade students of Post Road Elementary School in White Plains on an environmental Scavenger Hunt.

Outside of the lunchroom, We Future Cycle representatives set up a series of colorful “Did you know?” posters  which outlined with graphic pictures environmental issues and what can be done by everybody to help.

Students got a detective sheet and searched for clues on the posters, all the while learning  many details about how everyday behavior impacts our environment. They stared at the mind boggling number of 500 million straws used every single day in the US alone, while cringing at the picture of a poor loggerhead turtle with a straw in her nose. They expressed shock seeing the mountain of garbage floating in our oceans due to litter on land getting washed into the water ways. And they all learned, that everything we do matters. Small everyday behavior changes can make a big impact.

The students read through all of the information and were able to answer all of the questions.  We had quite a few Girl Scout members participate!  Math teacher Ms. Schmidt came by and was very interested in how the posters gave the kids a way of understanding math principles such as percentages and other relative values.

Indeed, a very successful day of Scavenger Hunting at Post Road Elementary.    Post Road Elementary School is participating in the We Future Cycle recycling program for 3 years now and all students are total pros when it comes to sorting their lunch waste into compostable, recyclable and non recyclable materials, thus reducing their waste by a whopping 97%.

These kind of games help connect their hands to their hearts, making them lifelong agents of change in their communities.