Tag Archives: Daniel Webster Elementary School

New Rochelle Webster 1st Graders Are Digging Worms!

Picture3We Future Cycle has been hired by the New Rochelle School District to bring sustainability education to the students. Our favorite activity is to do a Worm composting workshop with elementary students. Recently all Webster 1st graders got to meet their new friends, the Eisenia Fetida worms.

Students learned how important worms are for our environment, they cringed a bit when told how worms eat all kinds of stuff that falls on the ground and they openly gasped when learning just HOW much worms can eat on a daily basis and that the brown stuff they saw were actually worm castings (the correct word for worm poop 🙂

Making connections between muscle movements and its affect on how something can propel itself forward made them laugh, but all of them continued to flex their muscles to try it out.

All students got down and dirty, armed with a magnifying glass to examine the sample of worms they received on a moistened paper towel in front of them. They observed size differences, looked for coloring differences to identify what is the mouth and what is the anus of the worm, checked out the movements and searched for baby worms. Loud cheers followed by droves of kids swarming to the neighboring table when news came that a cocoon was found.

All in all, the basic information that all life matters and that worms have important jobs to do by taking our waste and turning it into something fantastic will stick with these young learners. That is the Webster Way.

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New Rochelle’s Elementary Schools Recycle 2,000 lbs of Textiles In 3 Months.

New Rochelle’s Webster and Columbus Elementary Schools are extending their sustainability efforts beyond their successful lunchrooms. We Future Cycle introduced Textile Recycling through Spin Green as a fabulous fundraiser and both school principals eagerly embraced the initiative.

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According to the EPA, Americans discard 13.1 million tons of textiles per year and there is only a 15% recycling rate. Many people give nice things as hand-me-downs away, but what to do with the stained T-shirt, the holed toddler jeans or –gasp– the underwear with the rip……?  Easy…recycle them in our Spin Green Textile Recycling Bin.

unnamed (7)We parents know how fast children grow and what clothes look like after a few months on an active child, but instead of discarding them into the trash, consider supporting the schools by donating them into their recycling bins. Any dirty sock, ripped sheet, old stuffed animal can go, anything that is clothy. Even shoes, sleeping bags, old blankets.

Once donated the textiles go one of these routes.

  1. The re-use avenue where usable clothes are sorted out and sold through second hand clothing stores or thrift shops.
  2.  The recycle avenue where the clothes are sorted according to material and then shredded down for its fiber to be used as rags or as stuffing for car seats and other applications.

goodwill_12smDiscarded textiles come with a huge price tag to society. They account for 4.9% of the municipal waste.

For Westchester, with its 2,000 tons/day garbage about 100 tons are discarded textiles EVERY DAY. At around $80 per ton tipping fee (which is just the cost to dump the load onto the incinerator floor, no transportation or labor cost are included yet, and of course no secondary cost such as road repair or environmental consideration), tax payers are footing an $8000.00 bill every day to make a resource -literally- disappear into thin air.

To learn more about the footprint of textiles here is a very interesting article.

The textile industry, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is the 5th largest contributor to CO2 emissions in the United States, after primary metals, nonmetallic mineral products, petroleum and chemicals.

The textile industry is huge, and it is a huge producer of greenhouse gasses.  Today’s textile industry is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses (GHG’s) on Earth, due to its huge size. In 2008,  annual global textile production was estimated at  60 billion kilograms (KG) of fabric.  The estimated energy and water needed to produce that amount of fabric boggles the mind:

  • 1,074 billion kWh of electricity  or 132 million metric tons of coal and
  • between 6 – 9 trillion liters of water

Thanks to Melissa Passarelli and Sonia Nunez, students of Columbus and Webster are learning about the importance of recycling textiles.

Hard Cash through Recycling for New Rochelle Elementary School

recycling binsNew Rochelle’s Webster Elementary School has partnered up with Terracycle and the students are sorting out and recycling things like Chip bags, empty glue sticks, juice pouches, empty markers, broken electronics. broken pens, broken crayons.

Things they had — until recently — thrown into the garbage without a thought. Now they know, practically anything can be recycled if it is just sorted out.

In January of 2014, Melissa Passerelli, Principal,  and Greg Middleton, Assistant Principal asked Anna Giordano to implement a Terracycle Partner Program. The 5th graders were the Ambassadors and after going through two training sessions, they were the ones teaching the lower grades about the advantages of recycling. Students learned to bring the materials to a center hallway station and a parent volunteered to mail out the content when it was full.

Check out Terracycle.com, a fabulous company that “upcycles” materials into new and totally hip products. When you go to their website, check out their products. There is no cost involved for schools, mailing labels are free and schools will get REAL cash for their recycling.

Webster is going to buy Composting Equipment from the money they have earned through Terracycle, taking it one step further in their quest to be a waste free school. The students at Webster are learning every day that ” Waste Free starts with Me”

New Rochelle Webster Elementary School is Going Waste Free in all K-3 Classrooms

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At around 10:30 am, most younger grades have snack time in class. Out come the plastic baggies that hold the prepackaged chips, or cookies as well as the juice box. A survey showed that one classroom with 18 students generated 15 juice boxes or juice pouches per snack,  as well as between 20 – 30 different single use packaging items. A total weight of 4 lbs per class. 4 lbs may not sound like much, but this pictures shows the amount of garbage coming out of 3 kindergarten classes. Every day.

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So, Anna Giordano set out to create the Waste Free Snack program and together with Lovetta James rolled it out in January of 2014.

The program consists of one week of targeted education to the children.  As parents are the ones packing the snack, they also have to be a part of the solution and a letter was sent home to parents asking for their help to get this trashy problem under control.

The principal Melissa Passarelli walked to all the classes and talked to the students about eating more healthy and she asked them what they thought was healthier….chips or a banana. The result was astounding, the very next day, we had 60% of the class bringing in bananas for snack.

We weighed snack waste every day, teachers tallied the daily amounts and incorporated the lessons into Math, English, Social Studies and Science. Remarkably, within a day we already saw drastic reductions of close to 50% in single use packaging and it went steadily down from there on.

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After 10 days of daily weigh ins and education the program culminated in the award ceremony, where each child “won” a reusable water bottle and a reusable snack bag imprinted with the schools name. The students were very proud.

The students also pledged to go Waste Free and wrote their name on a leaf to paste it onto the beautiful tree, created by the amazing art teacher.

From that day on, we had a close to 100% return rate of the reusable lunch bag and we started sending any uneaten food, and any packaging back home with the students. Now,  all the lower grades are completely waste free at snack time, and that knowledge has spilled over into the lunchroom as well.

“The first day we sent the uneaten food back home, we were holding our head down, awaiting the storm of phone calls from parents, but amazingly, there was not a single one”,  remembers Greg Middleton, Assistant Principal.

The students at Daniel Webster Elementary School have learned a valuable life lesson. Waste-free starts with me!