On April 23rd, just in time for Earth day, Westchester’s Material Recovery Facility added milk cartons to their list of recyclable materials. They are actually taking not only milk cartons which are called by the industry “gable tops” a paper product container with a PET lining, but also “aseptics” which is a paper container with an aluminum foil and PET liner.
A typical Westchester Elementary school is generating around 500 cartons per day. A mix of cable tops (milk cartons) and aseptics (like juice boxes).
We Future Cycle has been instrumental pushing for Westchester to join the surrounding counties accepting this material. The We Future Cycle recycling program includes sorting the milk cartons from day one. If the material was recycled depended how the school had their waste removal organized.
There are three systems of waste removal within Westchester school districts.
A: The district gets picked up by their municipality for free or for a fee
b: The district pays a commercial carter for waste removal
c: The district has their own employees pick up the waste and feed into their municipal system.
White Plains, New Rochelle and Mamaroneck are feeding into the Westchester MRF and are all We Future Cycle schools. They are excited to be able to finally have the cartons included with commingled.
White Plains has even made adjustments to their pick up schedule to accommodate for the increased recycling amounts as well as the drastically reduced trash.
Before implementing the We Future Cycle recycling program, White Plains DPW picked up trash every day, but now with the drastically reduced waste, and the increased amount of recycling, the schedule was adjusted to twice per week recycling pick up and a reduction down to only 2 or 3 times per week garbage pick up.
Commercial carters do not feed their materials into the Westchester County Material Recovery Facility across from Stew Leonard’s, they use the commercial single stream facilities in the area. The schools using commercial carters have been able to recycle their cartons from day one.