2014….Giving Thanks To Great Opportunities for Environmental Change in Westchester

change-strategy-continuum2014 was an action-packed year for We Future Cycle. We are looking proudly upon multiple TV, radio and other news outlet coverage stories of the environmental programs that we offer.

We thank New Rochelle’s Interim Superintendent, Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff, for boldly going where no one had gone before by fully supporting the program and implementing it in all of New Rochelle’s Elementary Schools.

We thank Maureen Caraballo, Treasurer for Hastings-on-Hudson School District, for being the major force to bring the program to Hastings’ schools.

Greenburgh_cornerWe thank Paul Feiner, Supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh, for endorsing us to bring the program to all of Greenburgh’s school districts.

We thank the White Plains Sustainability Committee to endorse us and to recommend the program to White Plains schools. We are very pleased and excited to be presenting this program to the White Plains Administration in January.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe thank the City Council of New Rochelle for endorsing We Future Cycle programs and for working with us to bring the first Food Waste Composting Site to Westchester.

We thank Joseph Carvin, Supervisor of the Town of Rye, for endorsing the program and affiliating with us. Mr. Carvin is also founder of the organization “One World, United & Virtuous.”

Parker-1We thank Catherine Parker, Westchester County Legislator and Chair of the Committee for Environment and Energy, for featuring our program at the Board of Legislators and the Westchester Environmental Summit, as well as  for her continuous and outspoken support. She is the major force behind creating a Westchester-based solution for food waste composting.

We thank the Columbia University Capstone Program for recommending the implementation of the We Future Cycle School recycling program as part of the Zero Waste Initiative to the Town of Mamaroneck, Village of Mamaroneck, and the Village of Larchmont.

We thank the Greenburgh Nature Center for offering a meeting venue to present the program as well as many other earth-saving and thought-provoking environmental presentations.

We thank County Legislator Sheila Marcotte and James Maisano for honoring us with a Proclamation for creating and implementing the program at New Rochelle Trinity School. New Rochelle’s Trinity Elementary School is truly a leader, one of the first schools to implement with an exceptional administration.

We thank the Pelham Sustainability Committee EcoPel for featuring the program and for their efforts to bring it to the Pelham schools.

We thank the Westchester Municipal Offcials Association for endorsing the program and bringing it back as recommendation to their communities.

We thank all the people that support us in our work to bring sustainability and environmental education into the schools as a daily learning experience, so we can raise environmentally-literate children.

Charles Kettering said these famous words: “The world hates change, yet is has been the only thing that brought progress.”  We could not agree more.

Larchmont /Mamaroneck Zero Waste Initiative Recommends We Future Cycle School Recycling Program

payt_epa_logoOn December 9th, 2014 representatives of the Village of Mamaroneck, Village of Larchmont and Town of Mamaroneck were listening to a very informative and well structured presentation by the Columbia  University Masters in Sustainability Capstone Program. The kick off was a presentation by Mitch Green, Town Liaison, explaining how this presentation came about and thanking the Capstone team for choosing Larchmont/Mamaroneck as their project.

0514_boltanskiThe team then laid out the “have and have nots” of the towns, slides showed the percentages of yard waste, curb side recyclables recovered, as well as total garbage collected.  The towns are already exceptionally well positioned with a 63% recycling rate, which is the combination of yard waste and curbside recycling. The goal however is getting to 90%. The team showed several areas of opportunity, which are comprised of textile recycling, food waste composting, “Pay-as-you-throw” and getting the schools involved. carpet-waiting-to-be-recycled

The team outlined that schools and the children within them are the key to changed behavior and their recommendation is to get the We Future Cycle Program into the schools to start that process. Parents learn from their children, as much as the other way around.

The 100+ page report will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

Hastings Lunch Recycling Program On The Air…… Nationwide and Beyond!

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UPDATE: The program will be aired on January 12th on AM 880.

Today, Sean Adams, a reporter for WCBS, came to learn about the We Future Cycle Recycling Program in the Hastings-on-Hudson schools.

WCBS Newsradio 880 is one of America’s most listened to radio stations providing news and information on the AM dial in New York for 45 years.  Traffic and Weather Together on the “8’s” has been a mainstay with New York commuters for decades. With one of the largest, most veteran local news staffs in the country, WCBS provides coverage of breaking news, local news, business, sports and entertainment. WCBS 880 provides a 24 hour news stream via CBS New York.com.

Sean Adams with Hillside's Assistant Principal Mr Johnson
Sean Adams with Hillside’s Assistant Principal Mr Johnson

Adams took time to learn about the program, walked around the schools and interviewed Mr. Johnson, Assistant Principal of Hillside Elementary school,  Mr Johnson explained how the children have taken full ownership of the program and how they are correcting and teaching each other, how they check their classroom bins for all content to be correct and that they are even checking in the offices if all is in order. “I am very conscious about where I put my things because I know that I have my kids in and out of here and they are checking”, Johnson said with a big smile.

George Prine, Director of Facilities, shared that garbage has gone down drastically . Prior to this program, he used to fill two 6 yard containers to the brim every day. Now he is looking at maybe 4 yards every other day. He is in the process of making changes to his pick up needs and is expecting to be saving on next years garbage bid. “I am just amazed how well it is working, we have tried several times to increase our recycling, but only this time it is working and it is here to stay” he shared contently.

Alan Levin, Food Service Direct with Chartwell
Alan Levin, Food Service Direct with Chartwell

Sean Adams also interviewed Alan Levin, Director of Food Service with Chartwell. Mr Levin has been an exceptional team player in this program because he worked diligently to bring his kitchen to follow the same rules. The kitchen is also fully source separated, sorting out compost, commingled as well as soft plastic. “Prior to this, we had about 5 barrels of garbage every day, and now we are down to this tiny little bin”, showing off an office sized bin, “everything else is either commingled or compostable. I call this a really successful program and my staff has really been very good about following the new rules.”

All three agreed that this is the way of the future and they are happy to be part of it.

The show will be aired on January 5th, 2015 on AM 880.

Support Crowdfunding Initiative to Bring Small-Scale Biodigester to an Educational Site in Westchester!

Biogas is the perfect solution to many environmental problems, creating heat, biogas, and compost out of our waste, instead of using fossil fuels to cart that waste away for it to be burnt. It is a technology as old as time, used all over the world, but practically non existent in the U.S.

Check out this fabulous small size home bio digester, perfect for a typical U.S. household and small enough to tuck into a corner somewhere outside.  The Biogas Education Network is seeking contributions via crowdfunding website Indiegogo “to place home biogas units Made in the USA using recycled materials by Hestia Home Biogas at select non-profit educational sites…where they may be visited by the public and utilized by educators to provide students with hands-on experience operating small scale biodigesters and using biogas.”

Please consider supporting the Biogas Education Network Indiegogo campaign by donating and/or spreading the word!

Student Lunch Contributes to Global Warming

About 18% of elementary school sandwiches are wrapped in Aluminum foil. This data came from a survey in a New Rochelle Elementary School lunchroom. Every child was surveyed on how its lunch was packaged. aluminum-can-life-cycle

We found of the 850 children surveyed, about 55 % brought lunch from home, the others bought lunch in school.  That is about 470 children. Only 6% of these children were completely waste free, meaning they brought all food and drink in reusable containers. Another 16% had some sort of reusable container, either a bottle or a sandwich box , 18% had their lunch wrapped in aluminum foil, of which half had that aluminum wrapped sandwich again in a small plastic bag.  So close to 80 sheets of aluminum were used every day in just one school.

Let’s look at what Aluminum is and how it is mined.

map_enAbout 7 percent of the earth’s crust is aluminium, making it the third-most abundant element after oxygen and silicon. Aluminium production starts with the raw material bauxite.

Bauxite is a mineral found mostly in a belt around the equator. Bauxite, containing 15-25 percent aluminium, is the only ore that is used for commercial extraction of aluminium today.

mineThe bauxite occurs mostly in the tropics, in horizontal layers normally beneath a few meters of overburden . The layers are usually mixed with various clay minerals, iron oxides and titanium dioxide. It is the iron that gives bauxite a deep red color.

This is the process of mining.

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Industry claims that it is mitigating the devastating effects of strip mining huge surfaces, but evidence is ample that mitigation as well as environmental control during mining is lax or non existent.

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Tailing ponds is another source for environmental problems.

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75% of all Aluminum foil used in the US is for single use food  wrapping, and ends up in landfills.

So your child’s sandwich can contribute to global warming.  Maybe there is a better solution?

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