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.