Tag Archives: disposable

The German International School of NY launching on-site food composting with We Future Cycle

fdc93e79-289d-458e-936e-c3c74b34d25cThe lunchroom in the German School in White Plains resembles more an upscale restaurant then a school lunchroom. You will find a decorative salad bar, a drink dispenser, a milk dispenser with your choice of 1% milk or 1% chocolate milk, a juice and sparkling water dispenser, the dessert counter with the fresh fruit of the day in a sun light filled high ceiling room, with light wood round tables. The food is all prepared on site, with the daily soup, vegetarian choices and meat dish.

b39b7799-e043-4e2e-b656-1efb956b6ecaChef Paul Boos, Food Service Director with Compass USA, personally serves the students and the school is proudly looking upon a 100% participation rate among students.

b8649d72-a671-4444-9da9-d94f088dd8b6The school uses only reusable dish and flatware and students are returning their trays to a counter that leads to the dishroom.

Now, GISNY, under the leadership of Edward Schlieben, administrator and a very active Green Team is launching into food composting on site. The handsome garden is visible right from the lunchroom and it is the logical next step in their journey to zero waste.

Come January 2016, students will be scraping their food waste into the compost bucket instead of garbage and the student green team will manage the compost bins. We Future Cycle is proud to be helping the GISNY on their path to truly zero waste.

 

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Mamaroneck’s Middle School has Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Rocket Composter

Dr Shaps and Dr Weitzman presenting the We Future Cycle Recycling Program
Dr Shaps and Dr Weitzman presenting the We Future Cycle Recycling Program

Larchmont and Mamaroneck’s Superintendent Dr. Shaps and Hommocks Principal Dr. Seth Weitzman proudly cut the ribbon to the first Rocket Composter at a Westchester public school.

Thanks to a generous grant of the Education Foundation, the purchase of this stainless steel machine that takes food waste and wood chips and 2 weeks later, compost comes out the other end, was made possible. After an additional 4 weeks of maturation, the compost will have finished its nitrification process and the compost can be used in the garden.

We Future Cycle was hired to do the program implementation as well as teaching students how to sort properly. The rocket is a picky eater, it only likes food.

Slide3The additional benefit of the We Future Cycle program is that apart from the food waste, also excess liquids, paper and commingled recycling are sorted out and sent into recycling streams rather then up the Hudson to be burnt as trash. A win win situation for all parties.

As a matter of fact, Hommocks is able to divert a whopping 86% of its waste into recycling or composting streams.

Mamaroneck’s Mayor Mr Rosenblum shared with a smile that his DPW guys already reported to him how much of a difference that makes.

Dr Shaps is very proud of Hommocks success and is looking forward to be implementing the recycling program in the other schools too.

We Future Cycle is proud to be helping with that as well.

 

 

 

 

White Plains School District Food Service, an Active Participant to Reduce Waste

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Church St Food Service workers preparing trays to keep  packaging at minimum

The success of source separating lunchrooms and teaching students about sustainable practices depends immensely on partnership with food service. The equation is easy, what goes in, must come back out. If food service sends many single serve packaging into the lunchroom, it makes sorting very difficult, potentially contaminating the food waste with plastic and ending up in the trash (or on the floor).

Have you ever tried peeling a sticky opened ketchup pouch off a tray? Not a pretty picture.

Ed Marra, Director of Food Service for the White Plains City School District, is a fabulous team player who took the We Future Cycle recycling program as chance to educate all his staff in sustainable practices. While only two of White Plains schools are piloting the program right now,  Mr Marra knew that all school employees can benefit from this kind of education.

He invited Anna Giordano to the Superintendents Training Day at White Plains High School to educate the staff not only about how the program works and what the children are learning, but going the extra mile to outline the environmental and social foot print each material has.

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only 1/4 bin of trash per day

Cafeteria Manager Sadie Tatum shared that she had no idea that Aluminum foil comes from strip mining the rain forest and she has immediately stopped using aluminum foil in her cafeteria and her home.  Ms Tatum and her team excitedly set up their kitchen to follow the same sorting guidelines and all are stunned to see that at the end of a day, they had less then a quarter office size bin as trash. All food, packaging and soft plastic was sorted out to be composted and recycled, and the only trash was gloves and dirty soft plastics.

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“It is not hard, no big deal at all to sort”, Ms Tatum said when asked on how the system affected her normal day.

Mr. Marra actively supports the program by eliminating most single serve packaging, replacing them with squeeze bottles and dispensers. He also affected the change that bagel condiments were made “by choice” items and not just placed on the tray of the children, whether they wanted the creme cheese or not.

These kinds of  adjustments are often met with resistance. Arguments against replacing single serve ketchup pouches are that it is too much work to refill the squeeze bottles, or the students would take too much. However in White Plains, thanks to Mr Marra’s decisive leadership and the training,  the transition was flawless and it allowed Church St Elementary School to become a new Zero Waste Facility with less then 1.7% of trash, or only 3 lbs (!!!) of trash coming out of a lunchroom with 800 students.

 

Joining We Future Cycle To Make A Difference

Enid Blount Press joined WeFutureCycle to help be part of the solution of recycling and composting in the schools in 2015.

Enid is a mom and a professional musician.

On the day her 2nd Grade daughter came home, distraught that the school had brought back Styrofoam trays in the lunchroom, she decided to call the school system and ask what their plan was for bringing back compostable trays.  Their response was that the cardboard trays would be back 5 months later, in the fall.   Joining Anna Giordano, who was behind getting the Styrofoam out of the schools, was her next step.

Enid now helps in the New Rochelle school system as well as other schools with the composting and recycling in the lunchrooms.  Enid is “thrilled to help tackle the waste” and provide a better environmental education for our community along with her colleagues.

We Future Cycle is extremely proud to have Enid. She immediately jumped into action by joining the implementation at the White Plains Church St Elementary School.

Hastings: Astonishing First Year Results from We Future Cycle Program

IMG_0258Can you imagine 110 times the amount of garbage as in this picture? Well, this is what Hastings-on-Hudson school district has not generated in the past year thanks the robust We Future Cycle recycling program it adopted last year. About 22 tons.

Thanks to the endless energy and support of Maureen Carabello, Treasurer, as well as the two head custodians in the elementary school and the middle/high school Hastings can look proudly upon major accomplishments.

Both buildings reduced their garbage so significantly that they reduced the number of dumpster by 50% and were able to renegotiate a $2000.00 reduction in their pick up cost.

Custodial staff was also able to reduce their plastic bag usage and purchases by 50% which is an expense often overlooked.

Truly an astonishing first year results. Hats off to Hastings-on-Hudson.

We Future Cycle and Eco Pel join forces to bring Textile Recycling to Pelham Town Clean up

P1000843On October 24th at 10 am 60 Pelham residents arrived, ready to tackle the problem of litter. EcoPel, the organizer, joined forces with We Future Cycle to include in this 4th year clean up, also textile recycling.

As grassroots, non-partisan organization in Pelham NY concerned with environmental issues, it is important to get the message out, and this year EcoPel is concentrating on schools and textiles.   There is a ground swell of concerned citizens and EcoPel was pleased to have this fantastic turn out.

unnamed (3)A make shift donation area supervised by students was set up and loads of textiles were brought to be recycled, rather then being disposed of in the trash. These textiles went into a Spin Green Textile recycling bin at the Columbus Elementary School in New Rochelle. A win win situation. Pelham was able to divert textile from the waste, educated their citizens and Columbus is able to receive the revenue from the bin for their students.

EcoPel successfully integrated the use social media to spread the word to the adults in the Pelham community as well as the local papers.  This year EcoPel also integrated the local church into their campaign, as the event was featured on the weekly church bulletin.

All of Pelhams High School and Middle Scholl students are required to complete community service hours to graduate.   EcoPel contacted many teachers and guidance counselors at the schools to get the word out to the students.  At the events the names of the participating students were collected so appropriate credit can be given.

unnamed (1)A success event, due to diligent work of the EcoPel members getting the word out, and now the knowledge that textiles are recyclable is starting to grow roots.  Way to go!

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.