New Rochelle HS is in its second year running the We Future Cycle recycling program and it has become the new normal to sort. Watching HS students coming up to sort their waste, while chatting with the friends, without hesitation and without issue is the shining light on how the power of one can transform a system.
7 years ago, Anna Giordano saw the mountain of garbage coming out of each lunchroom and how mindless the students were when discarding all of their lunch in one garbage can, no matter if the milk was opened or the apple had a bite taken out, and decided to do something about it. Starting with data collection, a survey of all the accumulated garbage (all 35 bags) revealed that most is either recyclable or compostable if it was just sorted out. So, with some trial and error the lunchroom sorting station was developed and kids were taught to sort.
And now, New Rochelle is boasting 11,500 students that sort their lunch waste every day, generating compost and recycling and practically no trash. As a matter of fact, the entire district only generates around 44 lbs from all 10 lunchrooms combined, that is truly remarkable.
While most people might look at these pictures and think….eeek garbage, I can only see the beauty of sorted recyclables and I know that this was done because a generation of kids now cares!