I shared this at the New Rochelle Board of Education Meeting on February 4th, 2014
I wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Dr Korostoff.
Ever since he took the helm of this school district, he has been incredibly supportive of recycling. He, as an educator, immediately understood that for children to learn to respect Earth and its resources is as important as reading and writing. As a matter of fact, it is actually called “Environmental Literacy”. That is what I want New Rochelle students to become: environmentally literate. And with that knowledge change will come to our communities. But it has to start in the schools and schools have to be the good example.
For a school to be a good example means to eliminate disposables that are used in the school, which brings me back to these dreaded Styrofoam trays, these awful plastic spork packages and other single serve packaging currently used in the schools.
Yesterdays BOE meeting took place at Jefferson Elementary School and the presentation given by the student was very charming. I have to say, by far the most charming I have ever seen. There was a very lovely choir, first on stage and later on the balcony, with a music teacher who was so on fire and filling the room with good energy. I had goose bumps!
Then there were 1st graders that did an outstanding presentation on Polar Bears, every one on the mic, really well done. Hats off to all teachers involved.
It is a long known fact that organic waste can be turned into valuable methane, used for cooking, heating or propelling vehicles.
Westchester is working on a pilot project to create a small scale bio plant at Greenburgh Nature center to convert food and organic waste into compressed gas to be used to run DPW trucks. What a fabulous project.
Please take a moment to read the following article that shows that Brooklyn is so far ahead of Westchester.
NY City Council passed yesterday the 1060A Bill, which bans certain Expanded PolyStyrene products from use by January 2015. These EPS products include single use food Styrofoam as in school trays and such. WHOHOOOO. This is a major victory of our children’s health versus the mighty Plastic Industry!
This ban is particularly interesting to us in New Rochelle because it sets the stage to follow it by moving away from disposables in our schools. New Rochelle’s schools are serving lunch to our kids on disposable Styrofoam trays. It creates a huge mountain of garbage, and the district allocates enormous funds to dispose of this garbage. Funds that could be used instead in the class room. It also teaches our kids that life around them is disposable and that is truly nothing we want to teach our children. Continue reading NYC Passes Styrofoam Ban ! New Rochelle School District Please Follow that Lead!→
On Monday, Dec 2nd, a Council Meeting took place discussing the outright banning of Expanded Poly Styrene, more commonly known as Styrofoam. Here is a run down on what happened.
Polystyrene Ban Hearing Overview from Jennifer Prescott:
Deputy Mayor, Cas Halloway’s testimony was clear and substantial. He outlined the comprehensive research that proceeded the conclusion that it is in the City’s best interest to ban Polystyrene. He and Deputy Commissioner Ron Gonan repeatedly stated that over 27 US cities have already done so with no evidence of a downside. The City’s research concluded that there simply isn’t enough of a market for recycled Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and that EPS is not recyclable once it has been contaminated by food. Both assertions were supported by Sims Municipal Recycling general manager, Thomas Outerbridge. EPS manufacturer, DART, testified that they have purposed a working plan to separate the NYC EPS and cart it by rail to their 50 million dollar (yet to be built/retro-fit) Indianapolis-based Plastics Recycling facility, where it will be cleaned and recycled. DART’s plan supported (3) city council member’s opinion’s that EPS should be recycled. Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Diana Reyna, and Robert Jackson all feel that an outright ban will adversely affect small businesses in their districts, primarily small, take-out restaurants and bodegas. Councilman Robert Jackson and Councilwoman Diana Reyna have introduced a bill with Brooklyn to add plastic foam to the city’s curbside recycling program. DART, the leading manufacturer of EPS (and $120,000 contributor to the plastics lobby against the ban), testified to the recyclability of EPS and introduced a conspiracy theory suggesting that Ron Gonan has undermined any possibility of recycling the material with SIMS. SIMS GM, Thomas Outerbridge, debunked their assertion by confirming that all correspondence between SIMS and DART were uncorrupted by any outside parties – including the DOS. Councilman Lewis Fidler tore into DART’s arguments and assertions that it is cost effective and feasible to recycle EPS. The overall concern is that by declaring EPS “recyclable”, without a facility available to clean and handle the material, we are effectively prolonging a landfill destination for unknown years to come. In addition, even if EPS were to be found “recyclable”, NYC’s EPS is primarily food containers that end up in the home or restaurant garbage. Separating it out for recycling would require extra hauling lines for curbside pick-up, costing the City $70 million per year. As far at the D3 Green Schools Group testimony was concerned, I was heard very late in the proceedings on a panel that included Debby Lee Cohen (Cafeteria Culture). Lisa Maller drew up a comprehensive testimony that outlined our stance on the proposed City-wide Polystyrene ban (I believe that the testimony was posted to the D3 Green Schools Group list serve last week). I went off-script to add a few comments pertaining to the medical/health consequences (and the troubling lack of testimony regarding health) connected to EPS.
City Council members in attendance: Maria del Carmen Arroyo Peter F. Vallone, Jr. Lewis A. Fidler Diana Reyna Robert Jackson Albert Vann Letitia James Jessica S. Lappin