Tag Archives: environment

We Future Cycle pushing for more sustainable options to feed students

We Future Cycle’s mission is to create a generation of students to care and to reduce garbage as much as possible. This is a 3 pronged approach. We work with the schools directly to set up logistics to allow for separation of materials so these can actually be recycled and composted.

We also present to the entire school community in order to create behavioral change across all players in the building. Changing on how we discard what we deem not to need anymore is a learning curve as it involves a change of heart. Only if people know what becomes of the material that is carelessly discarded, they start to become responsible for their actions, as small as where they place their empty coffee cup.

And lastly, we are working with food service to identify areas where we can replace unneccessary packaging with bulk.

We are very proud that our vocal opposition to EPS trays (Styrofoam) has now resulted in all of Westchester’s school districts to replace them with a compostable alternative.

We are also fighting against pre-wrapped Spork packages that contain a straw, napkin and spork, all wrapped in plastic. Our studies revealed that 70% of all students do not use the spork nor the napkin, thus discarding the materials unused.

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Unused spork package components after lunch

We are also working to replace all single serve condiment pouches with bulk squeeze bottles. Training students to only take what they intend to consume is part and parcel for this effort.

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Ketchup pouches taken but not consumed from one lunch period

We are working to make the school lunch world a greener place, one lunchroom at a time.

The bigger fight is to get washable flatware back into the lunchrooms.

 

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Adopt A School To Provide Environmental Programming

Help us bring environmental education programs to schools.

We Future Cycle is providing challenging environmental programs to schools, all as stand alone curriculum add-on programs to teach students about how their every day actions can make a big difference.

  1. Environmental Footprint of Aluminum: (grade 5-9) Do you know where aluminum comes from?  It comes from Bauxite, a type of stone that contains various alumina minerals. Mining for bauxite involves cutting down trees in rain forests, destroying animal habitats and causing water and soil erosion. Students learn in detail how aluminum is created, and also the importance of recycling aluminum because it can be used over and over again.
  2. Science of Compost: (grade 4-7) After learning to source-separate their food and paper waste in the lunchroom, students know that the material is trucked away to be turned into compost, but how does the transformation happen?  In classroom presentations including slides and video, students will learn the science of mixing “greens” with “browns” with the appropriate amount of moisture to create nutrient rich compost. They will also learn about how putting organic matter in landfills contributes to climate change.
  3. Vermiculture: (grade K – 3) There are number of ways that organic waste (food and paper) are broken down to nourish our soil, and one is vermiculture, or worm composting.  In classroom-by-classroom presentation from a WFC expert, students will learn how worms are used to decompose organic waste and turn it into a nutrient-rich material that can provide nutrients for sustainable plant growth. Students will learn that every living being has an important job to do and after getting up and close to a bunch of worms, most kids end up naming their worms. (Jeffrey seems to be the name of choice, and sometimes “wormy”)
  4. Planting a Trash Garden: (grade K-3) Students are learning about what is organic and inorganic and they learn how materials interact with the environment over time. It opens their eyes to the litter problem surrounding them as well as make them compassionate about being a change agent. A scientific experiment makes this very tangible for the students.
  5. Water Water Water: (grade 5-10) Students will learn about water, how it gets into the homes and what happens to it when it leaves, they learn the working of a Waste Water Treatment Plants, touch upon Waste Water to Drinking Water, Desalination and what the hype about bottled water is about. A water filtration activity for the students caps the lesson off.
  6. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch:(grade 5 – 12) Students are learning about the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the role of ocean currents, and how this affects wild life and the food chain. They also learn about prevention and mitigation in process. This program is very much centered around how people rise up to meet these challenges, it is meant to show students that nobody is too small to make a big difference. Never underestimate the power of one.
  7. Milk Cartons: (grade 3-6) This program explores packaging over time and how single serve packaging came about. Milk cartons are prevalent in any lunchroom in America, but few students know how a milk carton is made.  Students will learn how paperboard and waterproof plastic are blended to make a liquid-proof container, and thus why recycling cartons is a unique process.  Note that Westchester County only started recycling milk cartons in May 2016 and this program will aid to get the information back into the homes.
  8. E-waste/Electronic Equipment: (grade 6-11) What is E-waste and what does it take to make electronic devices that end up as e-waste. How are the devices disposed off and what are the human, environmental and social ramifications of E-Waste. This is also covering jobs in the recycling industry and how students can become involved in innovative technologies.
  9. 9. “Did you know” poster lunchroom education scavenger hunt (grade 3-6): this is an indoor recess activity to make students aware of the environmental foot print of materials they use every day, often without a second thought like straws, plastic bags etc. Searching for clues and filling in blanks is fun to do and they are learning without even noticing it.
  10. 10. The social and environmental impact of textiles: (grade 8-12) this program explores where clothing comes from, what it takes to make them, the social and environmental costs attached to clothing and why textile recycling is so important.
  11. 11. Galapagos, how islands deal with garbage: (grade 8 – 12) Exploring how other nations deal with waste, highlighting Galapagos.
  12. What is recycling? (grade 2-6) What happens to the material we put into the recycling bin, where does it go and what becomes of it. Learning how scientific concepts of gravity, magnetism, anti current, friction and resistance are used to sort materials for recycling. This program also focuses on reduce and reuse education
  13. What is Fracking (grades 8-12) an introduction into energy exploration and the environmental consequences to the oil and gas industry. What does it take to keep society going? Glimpsing into oil and gas exploration, as well as introducing renewable energy sources and how each student can make a difference by being energy literate.
  14. Coal and its environmental footprint (grade 8-12) This presentation examines how coal is mined and processed to be burned to make electricity, it describes the human , social and environmental costs. Renewable energy sources are introduced and contrasted.

Rye MS students create Recycling Artwork to keep sorting motivation high

Rye Middle School launched the We Future Cycle sorting program in their lunchroom on October 29, 2019.  Sorting is now the new normal for these students.
The results of the first week were amazing:  out of a total of 725 pounds of total waste coming out of the lunchroom, 700 pounds was diverted into recyclable and compostable streams.  They realized a 97% reduction in the amount of trash produced!
After 4 months, We Future Cycle  conducted an audit of the RMS lunchroom and the results have been consistent…RMS realizes a 97% daily reduction in the amount of trash produced!  Great job RMS!!
Rye Middle School Science teacher John Borchert has been a steady supporter of WFC’s recycling efforts.  Thank you!

For years, he and colleague John Griffin have recycled plastic water bottles to support a school garden.  After the WFC sorting began in the lunchroom, his students, Lila Byrne and Natalie MacDonald, added this amazing turtle to the sorting station to help call attention to the animals that are effected as a consequence of our actions.

The girls created the turtle’s interior out of plastic bags covered by homemade paper cache and made the shell out of water bottle caps.  They even added a great fact sheet: “Problems Facing Turtles Today and How You Can Help”.  Fantastic job girls!!!
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Rye MS Cookies are Now Bag-free to Reduce Plastic Waste!

Rye Middle School has been sorting in their lunchroom for 5 months.

They are doing a fantastic job, decreasing the output of trash by 97%.

This has made the students very environmentally aware and they have embraced the spirit of the WFC recycling program.  After realizing that soft plastics are the only items coming out of the lunchroom that cannot be recycled, students Jack Acciavatti, Trevor Reno, and Caleb Tuckman took it upon themselves to get their food service to make a huge change.

 

Before their intervention, cookies were put in plastic bags and tied with plastic twists.   The boys noticed that the plastic bags and twists made up a huge portion of the items in the trash, and approached RMS principal, Ann Edwards, to change this.  Their efforts resulted in cookies being offered in a case without any plastic wrapping!

Great thinking boys… you have made a huge difference!

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Rye MS creative usage of unrecyclable chip bags !

Rye Middle School teachers have embraced the WFC sorting program in their school.  Chip bags are one of the soft plastic items that cannot be recycled and end up in the trash!

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But, teacher Julianne Corbalis has found a solution to this problem.  She collects chip bags and uses them to create guitar straps! The picture shows the beginning of one.

 

Science teacher John Borchert got into the act by using chip bags to make a garland.

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Great way to upcycle these difficult soft plastics…awesome job!

New Rochelle State of the City Speech by Mayor Bramson is going Waste Free

We Future Cycle has been for years working in the New Rochelle School District to bring environmental education and source separation to each of the 10 school buildings, reaching 11,500 students. And now, we are also hired by the City to bring these programs to City wide events. Kick off was the annual State of the City address on March 20th in the rotunda at City Hall.

The space was lined with tables laden with delicious sample foods highlighting New Rochelle restaurant. Becoming Zero Waste means to control what kind of packaging and plates and flatware is used. The equation is easy, what goes in, must come back out. Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle was working closely with the Mayor’s office to guide vendors toward choosing compostable alternatives to serve their delicious samples to the bustling crowd. Tooth picks and paper boats was an all compostable way of feeding people

Showing off alternatives while educating patrons about how simple separation of compostable material from recyclable ones can reduce garbage by over 90%. And people participated with gusto.

Instead of the regular 6 bags of garbage, we only had 2 bags of food waste for compost and 2 bags of commingled for recycling, barely a handful of non recyclable materials ended up in the trash can. Custodial staff was quite surprised and Mayor Bramson gave a beautiful shout out to We Future Cycle, recognizing our tireless effort to bringing more sustainable practices to these kind of events.

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Compost and Recycling (only temporarily in a black bag)

New Rochelle Isaac Young’s Green Team in motion

New Rochelle School District is running the We Future Cycle recycling program for over 6 years now, working its way up the grades. First all the elementary schools then the middle schools and lastly the highschool 2 years ago. Together, 11.500 students are sorting their waste every single day. In the lunchroom and in their classrooms.

Isaac E Young MS has a vibrant Green Team and under the leadership of their Green Team coordinator as well as the head custodian William Coleman, a well oiled recycling machine was created.

20190125_143655Twice per week, teachers put out in the hallway their blue and green recycling bins with carefully sorted materials. Green Team students grab large rolling toters and go from classroom to classroom to collect the materials for recycling.

It creates ownership of the process for the building, the custodial staff appreciates the help and is sponsoring a pizza party for green team members on a regular basis and the kids feel empowered to be part of the solution. A win-win all around. We Future Cycle is proud to be part of this process.