Tag Archives: barnardelementaryschool

New Rochelle Barnard students are detectives of packaging material

New Rochelle Barnard students are fabulous waste sorters. The whole school populations has never seen anything but carefully separating their lunch waste into excess liquid, food waste, and recyclable and non-recyclable packaging.

Students know to walk up to the recycling station after lunch and sort their left overs, under the caring and watchful eye of Nick, the lunchroom cleaner.

Recently, We Future Cycle presenters were invited to play some more with the students all around sustainability and material identification.

Knowing what is recyclable and what not is the key to doing it right. Wishful recycling, as in just putting stuff into the green bin, is actually counter productive and creates many problems at the material recovery facility in Yonkers.

Students sat in front of a large pile of common packaging material of all types and were playfully “helping” the presenter to place the items into the correct bin. Most rigid packaging materials made out of plastics, aluminum, carton or glass are fully recyclable in Westchester County.

We Future Cycle shared with the adults in the room that Styrofoam contains Styrene, which is now a classified human carcinogen and banned in New York City, with legislation on the books in Albany to make it a state wide ban.

Students also learned that it is easy to avoid making trash. We Future Cycle presenters shared with them just how much they personally did not like to create trash.

Students learned that -oh big surprise- gold fish taste the same if they are packaged in a plastic zip lock baggie or in a reusable container. After learning about where the trash goes and that baggies end up in the trash, every single one of them responsibly voted that reusable containers are a much better choice for our world.

A harder sell were juice pouches. Juice pouches are one of the worst packaging offenders in existence. Valuable aluminum foil is sandwiched between two layers of plastic. Unrecyclable and thus adding to the whopping 2500 tons of trash generated in Westchester County every single day. All for 2 min of sugar laced drink. Students learned and agreed, that a reusable water bottle is a much better idea for our world.

 

 

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New Rochelle Barnard embracing Zero Waste

We Future Cycle was honored to be invited to the Barnard PTA meeting, kicking off the effort of this years Co-President Bryan Grossbauer to embrace Zero Waste at all school related events. Parents had heard from their little troopers about the recycling in the lunchroom but were quite astonished to learn just HOW good their kids were in terms of source separation. Barnard has consistently less that 1 pound of trash at the end of lunch.

The presentation walked through the steps of the program, shared the impressive reduction numbers of consistently in the high 90% and educated parents to where the garbage goes and its unbelievable cost to the tax payer.

However, we can not recycle our way to Zero Waste. Reduction and elimination of non-recyclable materials are the only ways to get closer towards Zero Waste.

Holding up a juice pouch, I asked parents how they liked them and a lively discussion about different brands started. There was a shocked silence, when I shared just how much I hated them. Someone contributed that they are just so convenient to put into their kids lunchbox. I began explaining that juice pouches offer no visual control of the product inside, students have a hard time putting the straw in and most get messy while doing it, leaving them with sticky fingers to be conveniently wiped on their pants.

But the worst about juice pouches is that they are non-recyclable. They end up in the trash, being trucked to the incinerated to be burnt there, with the ash subsequently being trucked to PA to be landfilled.  Westchester County sends 2500 tons of garbage to the incinerator every single day, at a cost of $200,000 per day.

Our idea of convenience is actually very very inconvenient. Not just in terms of the cost to society and the environment, but also for our kids. They just learned how bad garbage is and still …… are made to contribute to it….. everyday.

The best way to be zero waste is to send reusables to school with the students, reinforcing the environmental lessons they are learning.

And Barnard PTA has just pledge to do that.

New Rochelle Barnard PTA Makes Field Day Waste Free

Field Day is a really exciting event. Hoards of kids, running, jumping, cheering for each other, screaming in agony over a loss or celebrating loudly for a win. Now imagine this chaos with only the littlest of our students, the Pre-K through 2nd graders at Barnard.

20180524_120355Today was field day at Barnard, and the PTA made this event completely waste free. Usually, the place is littered with ice pop sleeves, plastic cups, wrappers and empty bottles, but not here, not at Barnard. Thanks to the PTA president, who fully embraces what We Future Cycle has started in the school.

Barnard has implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling program 3 years ago and thanks to a fantastic lunchroom custodian, is consistently at less than one pound (!!!) of waste out of a lunchroom with nearly 300 kids. These 3 and 4 year olds may not be able to look over the edge of the recycling bin, but they sure know what material belongs in what bin. And when asked will proudly pipe up that they are recycling and saving the world every day.

The PTA President recently learned about We Future Cycle’s efforts to bring source separating and sustainable purchasing to all school based events so that learned sorting  behavior can be applied in other life situations as well and he immediately ran with it by making field day completely waste free. Way to go!

Kids were treated to water melon in napkins, that they carefully dropped into the compost bin when done. Voila! 20180524_120351

 

New Rochelle Barnard Second Grade Student astonishes with wistful knowledge “Garbage goes to the Incinerator”

Sitting on the carpet surrounded by a group of New Rochelle Barnard students and doing a presentation about recycling is one of my favorite activities. I just love helping students make a very important mental transition. When I show students  a bunch of empty packaging material, one will invariably sneer at it and call it trash.

Walking them through the fact that empty packaging is not trash, but rather material for new things is the most rewarding, because children get it so fast. They understand what it means to play with things over and over again, if you just put it in the right bin.

At some point, I ask the students where they think “away” is, when they talk about throwing something away. I usually get a variety of answers ranging from “the garbage truck” all the way to “the dump”.

Today, however, at Barnard Elementary School in New Rochelle, I was blown away as a 2nd grader very casually answered : “Garbage goes to the incinerator”.

And that is exactly right.

Westchester burns 2500 tons of garbage every single day at its Wheelabrator Facility located in Peekskill NY. At a price tag of close to $80 a ton to just drop the stuff onto the tipping floor, Westchester is looking at a whopping $200,000 per day cost just to burn our garbage into our air. (long pause to let this sink in)
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In a school, 95-98 % of the waste can be recycled, if it is just sorted out. The same applies to Westchester’s garbage of 48% organic, 33 % paper and 16% Commingled recycling.

We have fabulous technology like an I-phone, but we cannot sort our garbage so that 95% can get recycled instead of getting burnt into our air?

Well, New Rochelle Barnard Students have just joined the growing group of schools that say “Yes, we can make a difference, a huge difference” And that is exactly what they did.

From 84 lbs of waste, only one single pound was trash, all the rest was sorted in the right bin and fed into compost, recycling or down the drain as liquid waste.

I call that making a huge difference!