New Rochelle Isaac Young’s Green Team in motion

New Rochelle School District is running the We Future Cycle recycling program for over 6 years now, working its way up the grades. First all the elementary schools then the middle schools and lastly the highschool 2 years ago. Together, 11.500 students are sorting their waste every single day. In the lunchroom and in their classrooms.

Isaac E Young MS has a vibrant Green Team and under the leadership of their Green Team coordinator as well as the head custodian William Coleman, a well oiled recycling machine was created.

20190125_143655Twice per week, teachers put out in the hallway their blue and green recycling bins with carefully sorted materials. Green Team students grab large rolling toters and go from classroom to classroom to collect the materials for recycling.

It creates ownership of the process for the building, the custodial staff appreciates the help and is sponsoring a pizza party for green team members on a regular basis and the kids feel empowered to be part of the solution. A win-win all around. We Future Cycle is proud to be part of this process.

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White Plains Post Rd Students working hard to support recycling

White Plains School district has adopted the We Future Cycle recycling program 4 years ago and most of their elementary school population has now seen only to carefully sort their lunchwaste into compostable, recyclable and non recyclable materials. Achieving everyday a 97% reduction.

Post Rd was particularly successful reducing its garbage from 277 lbs per lunch to a mere 5 lbs. Here is a picture of the proud principal Jessie Ossorio after the first lunch with just one fluffy little bag.

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Post Road elementary schools bright and inviting lunchroom welcomes 2 grades at a time to the right and the left of the center aisle. Each grade has their own recycling station and students are invited by the head custodian Rob Dell’Orletta to come up and help at the station, once done with eating.

And boy…. do they take him up on that offer. Every single lunch period, especially the littlest grades are eager to help and shoulder to shoulder they are standing to help their classmates through the process. Mr Dell’Orletta just smiles and confirms that this is an every day event.

It is heartwarming to see these eager faces, their unflinching commitment to the cause, calling Mr Dell’Orletta over when a classmate made a mistake and they cannot reach the offending material to remove.  When I asked them what they were doing, they answered “we are saving the world”, and sure thing! that is what these troopers are doing, every single day.

White Plains Rochambeau Teacher ditches the straw

We Future Cycle is in the process of bringing  its lunchroom recycling program to Rochambeau, White Plains Alternative Highschool Campus. Recently we presented the program to the staff in the media center and the librarian shared with us just how easy it is to make the switch away from single use straws. She showed off her reusable cup with her metal straw.

Seeing a video about a plastic straw being removed from the nose of a loggerhead turtle was setting her into motion to research reusable straws and with just a few clicks on the internet found just how affordable they are and how easy they are to clean and to transport in one’s purse.

Being environmentally responsible is not rocket science, it just takes a tiny little bit of planning. We all make sure we have our wallet and our phone with us at all times, it is no stretch to include our reusable straw in its tiny carrier and our reusable bags that fold into a tiny ball. 71pehv-prpl._sl1500_

Yes, we can do this. And this teacher shows just how easy it is.

New Rochelle Barnard students are detectives of packaging material

New Rochelle Barnard students are fabulous waste sorters. The whole school populations has never seen anything but carefully separating their lunch waste into excess liquid, food waste, and recyclable and non-recyclable packaging.

Students know to walk up to the recycling station after lunch and sort their left overs, under the caring and watchful eye of Nick, the lunchroom cleaner.

Recently, We Future Cycle presenters were invited to play some more with the students all around sustainability and material identification.

Knowing what is recyclable and what not is the key to doing it right. Wishful recycling, as in just putting stuff into the green bin, is actually counter productive and creates many problems at the material recovery facility in Yonkers.

Students sat in front of a large pile of common packaging material of all types and were playfully “helping” the presenter to place the items into the correct bin. Most rigid packaging materials made out of plastics, aluminum, carton or glass are fully recyclable in Westchester County.

We Future Cycle shared with the adults in the room that Styrofoam contains Styrene, which is now a classified human carcinogen and banned in New York City, with legislation on the books in Albany to make it a state wide ban.

Students also learned that it is easy to avoid making trash. We Future Cycle presenters shared with them just how much they personally did not like to create trash.

Students learned that -oh big surprise- gold fish taste the same if they are packaged in a plastic zip lock baggie or in a reusable container. After learning about where the trash goes and that baggies end up in the trash, every single one of them responsibly voted that reusable containers are a much better choice for our world.

A harder sell were juice pouches. Juice pouches are one of the worst packaging offenders in existence. Valuable aluminum foil is sandwiched between two layers of plastic. Unrecyclable and thus adding to the whopping 2500 tons of trash generated in Westchester County every single day. All for 2 min of sugar laced drink. Students learned and agreed, that a reusable water bottle is a much better idea for our world.