Pelham Community Church is Going Green

We Future Cycle is proud to have helped the Pelham Community Church to go green. One never knows how many moving parts a church operation has, until one tries to change direction. Under the skillful leadership of Pastor Noel Vanek, a consensus was built, with buy in from all parties as creating unity and ownership is what it takes to make any meaningful change permanent.

20161109_103725We Future Cycle set up the building with clear signage, designed the flow of the material, trained the custodial staff, created information flyers for the other building users and already just days after roll out, a clear difference was visible.

20161109_103457kleincroppedAiming for Zero Waste, Pastor Vanek knew that organic recycling was a big factor and now the entrance to the church is sporting a 80 gal enclosed, rotating composter, with clear signage and a bin of leaves adjacent to it. While the church does not generate huge amounts of food waste, Pastor Vanek wants to be an example,  to allow congregation members to witness that food waste composting is not “yuk” or “nasty”, but in fact super easy to do. The Church building is also home to a lovely nursery school and the children will also have the opportunity to place their banana peel into the composter and ….even more importantly….witness what has happened by the next time they open the composter again.

In fact, nearly 50% of all waste coming out of households is food waste, and it makes all the sense in the world to rather home compost that instead of treating it as garbage and spend energy on trucking it to the incinerator.

Pelham Community Church is well on their way to Zero Waste. What a wonderful example of building and improving community.

 

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New Rochelle Davis students learning how Garbage affects wildlife

downloadNew Rochelle Davis Elementary School students are expert lunchroom material sorters. The school is in its second year of the We Future Cycle Recycling program and has reduced its building waste by nearly 50% and its lunchroom waste by a whopping 92%.

To refresh students and to infuse new excitement into being green, We Future Cycle presenters went into all the classes today to expand on what the students know already about the detrimental consequences of garbage in the environment.

Part of the presentation was this 3 min video clip.

This powerful clip brought home to them, that there is no “away” when it comes to garbage and it lead to a healthy discussion about plastic consumption, personal commitment to make a change and the dire need for everybody to become engaged.

 

White Plains Church St School tackling Single Serve Snack Waste

White Plains Church St Elementary School students have learned all about sorting and recycling. Last year, the school implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling Program and has had fantastic results

Before implementation Church Street Elementary generated 196 lbs of waste in the lunchroom every day. But with the program in place, all liquids, compostables and recyclables were sorted out, only 3 lbs of actual trash was left over. And even 18.5 lbs of untouched food was rescued and donated. A win – win – win situation.

While this 98% reduction of waste through diversion is fabulous, these 3 lbs constitute a kitchen sized bag filled to the brim with single serve snack waste like juice pouches, chips, cookie wrappers and hundreds and hundreds of sandwich bags.

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This problem is now being tackled. We Future Cycle’s experienced presenters skillfully helped the students to see the connection between food and their body and ultimately their health. They all knew that chips and cookies were junk food and not good for them, but they mentally separated “snack” from the concept of “food”.

Walking them through reading labels, understanding the marketing behind colorful pictures of fruit on a package of sweets that contains only 1% fruit juice was an eye opening experience for them.

And then walking them through how what is not good for their body is also not good for the Earth as the single serve packaging is trash, energized them into making a change. The air was buzzing with students making suggestions on how to make a difference.

 

The Myth of Compostable Flatware

Check out this so called “compostable” spoon. This is after it has been in my active compost heap for over a year. No decomposition signs AT ALL, just as hard, shiny and sturdy as before. So why are they even called “compostable”?

These things are sold as disposable and bio degradable, but at least in my compost pile absolutely nothing happened to the material.  They are expensive and people are willing to spend the extra money because they want to do the right thing. It’s a $30 million  business.

Manufactures claim they will break down completely, but the fine print on the package outlines that only in commercial composting facility it might be the case.

Talking to operators of commercial composting facility offers a different picture though.

Alisha McCutheon runs the composting facility. She says a lot of her customers don’t know most facilities can’t accept bio-plastics. So, they’re in the mix.

“Thin things like bio-bags break down pretty readily,” says McCutheon. “Things like spudware, potato cutlery, forks and knives made out of cornstarch — they almost don’t break down at all.”

McCutheon points to a large pile of debris. It’s the leftovers — even a nerf football — that didn’t break down after five months of composting.

She picks up a compostable spoon and dusts it off. She says all the leftovers – including the spoon — are now on the way to the trash.

And, that’s not good news for the environment. And not good news for the customer that paid big money for wanting to do the right thing.

 

 

 

White Plains School Mom: “We are making changes to make a difference”

I am a mom in the George Washington Elementary School community in White Plains.

I went into my son’s classroom to hear We Future Cycle educate our children about the school’s new recycling program.  I was excited and inspired by the potential positive impact our children and families could have on our local environment.

I always considered our family fairly environmentally conscious but I didn’t realize how huge of an impact our family could have by making a few more small changes at home.After participating in the launch of the new recycling program at school, our family stopped buying paper towels, paper napkins, plastic wrap, and resealable plastic w610_fc-assorted2 bags.  We now use only cloths and reusable glass and plastic food storage containers.  We have also bumped up our contributions to our backyard compost pile and paid even more attention to what we can recycle curbside here in White Plains.  We are hoping that other families have been inspired as well and that together we can be a part of the solution.