White Plains MAS Students Run Recycling Program With Gusto!

We Future Cycle is so proud of White Plains MAS students. The school adopted the WFC recycling program in February of 2017 and under the energetic leadership of Assistant Principal Rob Janowitz the school transformed the way it dealt with garbage in record time, catching the hearts and souls of the students. Empowering them to be the change agent and to run the program.

We Future Cycle presented to all students the detriments of garbage and how simple changes in behavior can make a huge difference. MAS students got it immediately.

“Sorting is easy and fun”

“I help every day with the younger grades and I love it”

Within a week this school was a well oiled sorting machine. Students signed up to supervise the lunchroom stations, teachers created the classroom job of Recycling Ranger and overall garbage dropped by 98% through sorting and diversion into recycling and composting streams.

This change even caught the attention of the White Plains Board of Education. Click on the image or link below to hear the BOE member and Superintendent gushing about how proud they are of their students. It is truly heartwarming.

New Rochelle Jefferson Students Win Cash Prizes In Green Writing Contest

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Applauding classmates

Under ear-splitting applause 14 New Rochelle Jefferson Students made their way up to the stage in the auditorium to receive their certificate and cash prize.

The Nina Chin Family proudly sponsors a Green Writing Contest every year. Nina Chin, a long time New Rochelle resident was a teacher and her goal was to make a students reach farther through writing, so she sponsored a green writing contest each year from her own money.

After her passing, her family decided to continue this wonderful tradition and chose Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle, to administer this grant.

Every year one New Rochelle school is chosen. This year it is Jefferson Elementary School, in the past Ward, Columbus, Trinity and Webster were proud recipients of the grant.

The topic was “How Can I Make a Difference?”

Students were tasked to reach within themselves to formulate ideas and foster personal engagement, going beyond writing what can be done in general, but more what each one is COMMITTED to do. Third, fourth and fifth grade students were invited to participate and 66 souls rose to the challenge and delivered stacks of heartwarming ideas and personal commitments.

One student had the brilliant idea to do a trash treasure hunt in a park, another decided to start a club with her friends to reach out to more people. One student admitted that before learning about trash through the We Future Cycle presenters he did not care where he threw his garbage. but now he makes sure to sort correctly and to make his family do the same. All writers had a clear understanding that there is no Planet B and that it takes all of us to be the solution. Fostering environmental understanding at this age is generational learning and will hopefully spread throughout the community for lasting positive change.

“Because when we take care of our Earth, we are all Winners”  strong words from a 4th grader!

Town of Greenburgh Eyeing To Operate Westchesters First Food Composting Site

Paul Feiner, long time Supervisor for the town of Greenburgh is an ardent supporter of green and sustainable practices. We Future Cycle is partnering with the Town of Greenburgh to operate the first food composting site in Westchester.

Currently the County of Westchester is spending close to a million dollars per week to burn its 2500 daily tons of garbage into the environment at the Peekskill incinerator. A look at the garbage composition reveals that nearly 50% of that is organic matter such as food waste.

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33% are paper products that could be recycled and another 16% are plastics, glass, metals and cartons that could also be recycled and generate income for the County, rather than being burnt into our air at great expense. Only 4% of our daily garbage is actual trash.

The weak link so far is what to do with the organic waste. Yard waste is already collected and most Westchester communities truck it out to a commercial yard waste composting facility in Rockland or Putnam County. At great expense I might add. Greenburgh alone spends  $ 1.25 million disposal fees just for leaf season. And that does not account for the actual trucking expenses, only the disposal cost.

So,what to do with the food waste?

We Future Cycle has brought their ground breaking recycling program now to many schools in the county, redirecting 95 to 97% of the lunchroom materials into recycling or composting streams and away from trash.

 

So far, the food waste is going to the Ulster County Composting Facility, quite a trek up I-87. They mix 3 parts leaves / wood chips with one part food waste and -voila- 3 months later, they have a salable product called potting soil that sells for $6 per cubic foot at Home Depot.

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final product ready to be bagged

And why bring a valuable ingredient for healthy soil to be used somewhere else?

So, the Town of Greenburgh is stepping up to the plate to bring the first food composting site to Westchester County, keeping valuable resources within the county, reducing trucking and disposal expenses, lowering costs so that more schools can participate in the program and generating black gold. A total win-win situation.

We Future Cycle is proud to be part of this.

New Rochelle Middle School Students Pitching In At Five Island Park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was blistering cold, but that did not stop a group of very motivated New Rochelle Middle school students from pitching in at New Rochelle’s Five Island Park.

As part of the Junior Honor Society service hour requirements these upstanding kids donned gloves and started picking up trash. A real treasure trove, one might add. Tires, a tricycle, endless bottles and Styrofoam cups were bagged.

Sonia Morris and Stella Giordano, both 8th graders, decided to do it the hard way and chose the breakers as their spot to clean up. Climbing the boulders and reaching into crevices to dislodge the bottle was great fun and one nearly forgot about the ears that froze off in the wind chill.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a humbling experience to see just the amount of garbage within the rocks, and the yards and yards of discarded fishing line, entangled around things.

2 hrs later, 4 filled bags of trash and a donut in one hand, both recalled that it was hard work but also very rewarding, and they both felt good about giving up their weekend morning to make a difference.

Way to go!

 

New Rochelle Jefferson’s Second Grade Students Write Letters For The Environment

Students from Ms Starcevic’s class just learned about the perils of littering and they are not holding back about what they learned and how they feel about it.

unnamedWe Future Cycle just finished up teaching a program to all of Jefferson’s Kindergarten, first and second grade students on what happens to organic and inorganic materials in our world. The kids did a hands on (and rather messy…..and they LOVED that part) experiment to find out how water interacts with different materials. Afterwards they were invited to write about what they learned and if they were interested in more information.

Gabriella writes: ” I learned that I can pick up trash and that it is good to keep our world clean”

James learned that if you throw soft plastic then the fish will die, the turtles will die because they will eat the plastic and it clogs up their stomach.

Jaquan learned that the rain will bring the litter on the streets into the sewer system and that brings it to the sea and the fish can eat it.

Emalia did a great job retelling that she learned about how seeds grow and how to clean our Earth.

Tyanna took the time to recount the science experiment we did in class.

Monserrat shared that he learned all about seeds and how different they are and how surprised he was that they contained food. He also learned how important it is to clean the Earth.

Mia summarized very neatly that organic things smush (sic) in water and inorganic things look the same. She also said that in her house, bringing out the recycling is her job.

Alira learned that she will never litter and that seeds can grow into new plants

Every single student wrote that they want to learn more about how to make a difference in this world. They were attentive and all pledged to be good models, to never litter and to help clean up this world.

Thank you ! Ms Starcevic’s class for sending me all these wonderful letters.

 

White Plains Ridgeway Elementary Kitchen Staff Feeds 600 Students Almost Wastefree!

Meet the Ridgeway Elementary School Kitchen Crew. These wonderful ladies make sure that Ridgeway students are happy campers in the lunchroom. Salads, sandwiches, hot food, all is prepared fresh right on site.

Ridgeway Elementary School was one of the White Plains pilot schools to join the We Future Cycle recycling program and the entire school embraced the program with gusto.

The kitchen crew sorts all food waste into compost, all packaging material into recycling and they are also sorting all clean soft plastic into a bag which gets recycled at the local grocery story as part of the plastic bag recycling. This portion of the program is completely voluntary, and Ridgways kitchen staff is going every week above and beyond to do their part for the environment.

I was proudly shown their office size garbage can that sported after a full day of work just a handful of gloves and a few dirty soft plastic food pouches.

That is truly a wonderful example of an entire school community making a difference and going green.

New Rochelle ALMS Taste of New Rochelle Fundraiser is going green

Last night about 300 of New Rochelle’s parents had a chance to stroll in the festively decorated lunchroom of Albert Leonard Middle School to view lots of silent auction item as well as tasting delicious fare from fabulous New Rochelle restaurants.

The annual ALMS PTSA fundraiser “Taste of New Rochelle” was a relaxing place to meet and greet parents we only get to see on our (hurried) way to drop off or pick up our kids.

Last night marked also the first time that this event was source separated to mirror what the students are doing in the lunchroom.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAParents had the opportunity to sort their waste into “Food & Paper” and “Commingled Recycling” and they all did it with gusto and flawlessly. Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle, the not-for-profit organisation that was hired to bring extensive sustainability programs to the district was there to help at the station and to share the fabulous results achieved in all the schools since the inception of the program. ALMS has reduced its lunchroom waste by a whopping 95%, its building waste by a good 50% and its kitchen waste by 65%. All in all, that is about 450 lbs of garbage NOT generated every day, and that just from one of the 9 participating New Rochelle schools.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to the program, New Rochelle School District was able to revamp its waste management system and save considerable funds. Carl Thurnau, the Director of Facilities for the district has just quantified it at the ongoing budget meetings with an annual savings of $130,000.

And of course, Westchester County is benefiting from the increase of recyclables delivered to the Material Recovery Facility near Stew Leonards. Recyclables are commodities that are sold back to industry for considerable prices.

ALMS Taste of New Rochelle generated 3 large bags of recyclables, one bag of food waste for composting, and only about 2 lbs of trash, mainly Styrofoam products.