All posts by wefuturecycle

White Plains Schools Racing Toward Zero Waste

All of White Plains elementary and middle schools are running the We Future Cycle recycling program in their lunchroom. All schools have reduced their waste by a whopping 95-98%, and are looking at just a few pounds of soft plastic as garbage coming out of their lunchroom, down from the hundreds. All the rest is either excess liquid, commingled recycling or food waste to be composted.

Before implementation these school generated a combined 1317 lbs of waste each day, resulting in daily White Plains garbage trucks to empty bulging 6 yard trash containers.

Since implementation, each custodian is casually slinging a single fluffy bag of garbage composed of plastic baggies, chip baggies or cookie wrappers over his  pinky finger  to carry outside. Lonely this bag sits in the container until it gets joined by the night clean garbage. So, all schools combined generate a mere 44 lbs of garbage out of breakfast and lunch together. WOW!

White Plains data per day

Here is that data extrapolated for the full school year of 180 days. A reduction of 118 tons of garbage through simple sorting. That is incredible!

White Plains data per year

White Plains schools are not stopping there, the race is on for zero waste!

We Future Cycle has also implemented a robust building wide sorting program, placing signage and recycling bins in each classroom, office and at strategic spots in the hallways. Regularly, we weigh and spot check what is being discarded and are delighted to report that some schools have reduced their building waste to a mere 25 lbs! From 700+ students.

White Plains schools are competing with each other towards zero waste! A worthwhile goal.

This is what 25 lbs of garbage looks like from a large middle school! 20171121_094958

Compare this to just lunch waste from one school without sorting.DSCN1900

 

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New Rochelle Middle School is Digging Soil To Combat Climate Change

New Rochelle Albert Leonard middle school students are digging soil, in a literal kind of way.

6th graders explored in We Future Cycle classroom sessions the connections between throwing food waste in the garbage and climate change. Learning about methane and leachate got their attention. Just thinking past the garbage can is eye opening for these students.

While New Rochelle’s entire student population is now sorting their lunch waste between Commingled Recycling, Food Waste and Trash, thus reducing trash by a whopping 97%, they have not quite learned what actually happens to the food waste.

In classroom presentations, student were walked through the chemical process of decomposition, they chuckled a bit when asked if the banana looks the same when it comes back out and they quickly got the concept of nutrients, water and energy being the basis for life.

Making connections between how the apple tree takes nutrients out of the ground to grow the apple, which in turn nourishes our body when we eat it, and how the left over  still contains many nutrients that could benefit the soil if put back, but creates havoc if treated as garbage and dumped in a landfill, was a completely new line of thought to all students.

Students had the chance to dig through soil samples, seeing and touching the difference organic matter made in soil samples. They were tasked to make determination in terms of water retention capabilities, nutrient content and how plants might like to grow in that particular soil. Social Studies questions were introduced for students to think about how a the quality of soil might affect the wealth of a country.

What started out with students looking somewhat puzzled at three soil samples on their desk, ended in some fabulous essays about why composting is so important to the survival of our world. Great job Albert Leonard students.

 

 

 

 

We Future Cycle Brings E-Waste Recycling Education to Schools to Improve Dismal 3% Cell Phone Recycling Rate

1 billion cell phones were produced in 2015, with a growth rate of 14% annually. A shocking number especially looking at the dismal recycling rate of 3%.

We Future Cycle is bringing E-Waste Recycling Education to Middle Schools in New Rochelle as part of the Science curriculum. Students were asked to raise one hand if they owned a cell phone, and both hands if they had changed their cell phone in the past 18 months. Every single student raised both hands!

Every cell phone contains valuable metals such as copper, tin, silver, gold, cobalt, nickel, aluminum and lithium, not to mention the rare earth minerals like Neodymium, Yttrium, Terbium, Cerium and Europium. Without these metals, there would be no handy device.

Students learned about mining techniques and the unbelievable environmental destruction that goes hand in hand with mining in countries with little or no environmental oversight.

Touching upon child labor in African cobalt mines, learning about mercury contamination in the Amazon while mining for gold and seeing pictures of nickel mines in Mozambique was hard for students. They recoiled in their chairs and some even pushed their ever present phone on their desk to the far corner.

Peru-Gold-Mining-AsnerConnecting students to the origin of the devices they are using is the basis for them to become global citizens and to become engaged in responsible practices.

Students learned about the dismal recycling rate of only 3%, and they all admitted that they have drawers full of antiquated devices not knowing what to do with them.

New York State now requires all consumers to recycle e-waste in a responsible manner. It is against the law to discard a broken computer in the trash. Cell phones however are so small that it is easy to slip into the kitchen trash, but consumers are literally discarding gold!.

According to the EPA : 1 million cell phones contain 75 lbs of gold, 33 lbs of palladium, 35,274 lbs of copper and 772 lbs of silver, just to name a few. 

Recycling metals reduces its environmental foot print by a whopping 90-95%

Recycling cell phones is easy! Just drop them off at any retailer, they are by law required to take them back at no charge. To protect your privacy, take the SIM and other memory chip out and cut it in half.

 

 

New Rochelle ALMS Students Learn What Happens When They Flush “gasp”

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Learning about Waste Water Filtering

Students looked somewhat bored when they heard that they will learn about water and one student piped up smartly :”I know, I know it’s H2O, has a Ph of 7 and can exist in liquid, solid and gaseous state”

With a smile, I asked that student where her water comes from and after a fraction of hesitation came a much more subdued “out of the faucet”…… phrased more like a question than a statement. And she was suddenly wide awake and much more interested.

New Rochelle School District understands that environmental literacy cannot stop at the lunchroom recycling but should be carried throughout the curriculum to have students internalize that their every day actions have a big impact on the environment. Albert Leonard Middle School has invited Anna Giordano into the classroom and students are learning as a curriculum add-on about the environmental foot print of something as mundane as turning on the faucet.

Walking students through where their drinking water comes from, what steps it has to go through before it arrives conveniently at their kitchen faucet was quite eye opening for them.

A collective gasp was heard upon being asked what they think happens when they flush.

Students took a second to process the word “Bio Solids” but quickly chuckled. Seeing pictures of the New Rochelle Waste Water Treatment plant put into prospective the monumental task it is to keep society going.

We covered the steps in the Waste Water Treatment plant and how communities have implemented waste water to drinking water programs. Students shuddered by the thought of former toilet water making its way back into the faucet, but realized at some point that reality requires this and it is ultimately cheaper than ocean water desalination.

And learning about the marketing hoax of bottled water was the true eye-opener for students. Can you imagine 7th graders coming up to express thanks for teaching them about water? Well, it was heartwarming and truly special!

 

Inspiring The Young At Heart To Make A Difference

With pleasure we received a note from an avid reader of our blog about how our recent blog post about picking up litter on the daily dog walk inspired him to do the same.

Making a difference is all about seeing a problem and doing something about it. We applaud this Young at Heart activist for demonstrating that any age is the right age to pitch in.

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https://wefuturecycle.com/2017/06/09/two-dogs-one-walk-around-the-block-and-three-bags-of-trash/

New Rochelle 6th Grader is Taking Action For The Environment

Meet Jonah, a 6th grader at the Albert Leonard Middle School. He is a fire cracker for the environment and makes it his business that the We Future Cycle recycling system is working properly. He explains that climate change is real and if we are not starting to act upon it, we will be in trouble. And Jonah acts on it! Single handed he recruits classmates to help him build a cleaner school world. He made up flyers and posted them around the school and when he gets to the lunchroom, he eats quickly and then dons on gloves to supervise a recycling station.

This kind of above and beyond attitude did not go unnoticed by the school administration and Jonah received the “Upstander of the Week” award by Principal Barnes and Assistant Principal Goldberg. He also received a T-Shirt to go with that award. Big applause, this is what it takes to make a difference.

Thank you Jonah for your personal commitment and your drive to make this a better world.

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Open House in White Plains Elementary School Proves that Students Change Communities

Last night, We Future Cycle hosted an informational table at the White Plains Mamaroneck Avenue School at the Back -To- School Open House. Talking to parents showed that even the K students with only about 10 days of lunchroom sorting under their (tiny) belts brought the information about recycling home and some even effected change already. It was heart warming to hear parents say how excited their kids were about being part to save the world. One mother shared with me that her son told her on day two that she needed to get another bin to sort out recyclables (which she did)

One father shared with me that the favorite word of his brand new kindergarten student is commingled and he sits at dinner and identifies the different materials he sees.

To give some background, White Plains School district hired We Future Cycle in 2015 to implement the recycling program in its elementary schools, moving into the middle schools by 2016 and now starting the HS school. Administration at MAS has been outstanding supporters of this program and this percolates through the building. Students are lining up to help at the recycling stations, students are signing up to help sweep and wipe tables, every single classroom has a recycling stations and while walking the building it was heartwarming to see that every single bin was perfectly sorted.

This proves that environmental education in schools can change communities. It teaches responsibility and personal commitment. All life long lessons. Hats off to MAS students for being the change we want to see in this world.

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