Tag Archives: environment

We Future Cycle is partnering with Energize NY bringing energy efficiency to Westchester homes

Brrh, it is cold outside. No parent would let their kid leave the house without a proper coat, a hat and some gloves. Parents know, unprotected skin gets cold and its important to make the envelope around the kid air tight.

Energize NY is a not-for-profit organization that helps NY residents to put a proper coat, hat and gloves on their homes. With skyrocketing energy costs, heating and cooling our homes is a major expense for every home owner.

Did you know that little things like caulking around windows, upgrading insulation, adding storm windows, bleeding your radiators etc can have a huge impact how much you spend on heating.

Energize NY offers free home energy efficiency inspections to Westchester home owners (did I mention, these inspections are free!) and the inspector will bring cool equipment to test your home for air tightness. Energize NY also offers help and financial support to pay for part or all upgrades necessary to air tighten your home. Participating home owners can see their home heating cost reduced by more than 30% in addition to having a much more comfortable house.

To learn more go to Energize NY

 

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 Columbus lunch monitor adds artistic detail to recycling station

Meet Gloria, a wonderful lunch monitor at New Rochelle Columbus Elementary school. For nearly 3 hours, every day, she smiles at her students, opens endless milk cartons for them, helps with anything and all around eating lunch and then is the driving force to make sure that Columbus students sort their lunch waste according to the We Future Cycle system. She is passionate about saving the environment and found her calling to make sure things run smoothly in that very busy lunchroom.

The lunchroom features two recycling stations, neatly signed with large colorful posters, but Gloria added a wonderful personal and artistic touch to it, by taking the actual materials and creating a cute mobile to be hung right over the opening as yet another visual reminder for correct sorting.

Thank you Gloria for making Columbus’ station special.

Rye Osborn Scare Fair diverts 90% of its waste

Rye School district is successfully implementing the We Future Cycle Recycling program in all aspects of school life. Each elementary school is diverting 95% of its waste into composting and recycling streams with students being enthusiastic partners in this program.

Osborn’s PTO just organized a fabulous “Scare Fair” and of course implemented the sorting program into that event. Despite the weather, there were wall to wall people enjoying the fun entertainment  and the wonderful choices for food.

Food was contained to the lunchroom and 3 recycling stations were set up and monitored to allow for waste diversion, the same way the students are doing it every day. Consistency is an important factor for long term learning.

We Future Cycle representatives were on hand to supervise the sorting stations and use that opportunity to share information with parents and other fair participants. Most parents had heard from their youngsters about the program  and were eager have their kids model what needed to be done. We shared data and background information with parents and other fair participants and most were quite astonished to learn just HOW much was diverted and the cost of garbage in general.

The Osborn Scare Fair diverted about 200 lbs of food waste into compost, about 8 large bags of commingled into recycling and only 2 bags were non recyclable items that made it into the trash.

Custodial staff estimates a 90-95% reduction of garbage through diversion. What most people do not realize. When we divert materials from the garbage, not ONLY do we ELIMINATE the emissions associated with the burning of that trash, we are also RETAINING the resources.

Can you image what it could mean if the entire country was to divert 90-95% of its waste into composting and recycling? Definitely something to strive for, and so easy to do. Just separate your waste! Done.

Ask these kids, they do it every day, without even thinking twice about it now.unnamed.png

“It smells just like wet forest” Trinity K students learn how to sort their waste and what compost is.

New Rochelle Trinity Elementary School is entering its 5th year running the We Future Cycle recycling program and students are getting trained on how to sort their lunch waste into compost, recyclables and trash.

Like every year, We Future Cycle presenters swoop upon the school and go from classroom to classroom to playfully introduce the students to the concept of recycling and to the problems attached to garbage. All students start out considering anything empty as garbage. Upon asking if they thought I brought them recycling, they clearly were reconsidering their position and some raised their hands. And they were quite astonished to learn that I just brought them packaging material, and they decided if that became garbage or recycling. It was fascinating to watch how something shifted inside them. THEY decided on something as important as putting something in recycling.

The We Future Cycle Recycling program teaches children to separate recyclable material from food and non recyclable material, and this reduces garbage by a whopping 97%. Trinity is consistently at below 6 lbs of trash from the entire lunch of nearly 1000 students.

Students learned that packaging is similar to Lego. If is put into the correct bin, it can be taken apart again and the same material blocks can be used to build something new. Students totally get that concept!

Learning that left over food can be recycled too was a bit of a stretch for them, but when I showed them what compost looked like and let them smell it, they all agreed that it is much better to make good soil than burn our banana peel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

New Rochelle Davis International Dinner Goes Green

This is the gym of the New Rochelle Davis Elementary school. Beautifully decorated thanks to the tireless PTA. The entire school was buzzing with the excitement of the International Dinner. Hallways walls were floor to ceiling decorated with the artwork of students depicting traditional things of their homes.

Tables weighed down with delicious foods of all corners of this earth lined the perimeter of the gym and in the middle of this all was one recycling station. Not tons of trash cans as it is often the case for these events.

Davis Elementary school under the leadership of Anthony Brambola and Laurie Marinaro have fully embraced going green and are actively supporting bringing recycling to all school events.

And parents had the chance to sort their waste just like their kids do every day. It was very charming seeing a Kindergarten student pulling mom behind her to explain carefully what item goes in what bin. And then she declared with a smile that mom now saved the world!

Yes, every one can save the world, one every day activity at a time.

Parents needed a bit of encouragement to actually look at the signage, which clearly outlined where recyclables, compostables and trash needed to be placed. But of course, once they got it, they were enthusiastic about it.

Saving the world is really about education and that small changes of every day behavior makes a huge difference. This event would have generated a whopping 20 bags of trash if we had not sorted it. Instead through sorting we had 4 bags of commingled, 3 bags of foodwaste to be composted and only one bag of trash (most of which were bunched up plastic table clothes…..mmmmh, lets switch to fabric table cloths for next year!)

Davis Elementary School is a shining example of how a whole community can be educated to become green..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 7th Grader …Waking Up A Future Green Giant

Meet New Rochelle Isaac Young MS 7th grader Sophia. She won last years Green Writing Contest hosted at Isaac E Young Middle school.

unnamedOne day, while I was walking toward Isaac Young to teach 7th graders about what happens when they flush….. (yikes), she came up to me to share with me that ever since learning in 5th grade (from me) about where the garbage goes and what effects garbage has on this world, she has completely changed her ways.

She is no longer using single serve plastic bags, she only uses reusable containers for her lunch. She has a large reusable water bottle (that got promptly pulled out of the backpack side pocket as proof) and she re-organized her families waste management system, including starting to compost. Seriously way to go.

But she did not stop there, she learned about the detrimental effects of straws to our environment. 500 Million straws are used every single day in the US alone, little bits of plastic with an average use time of 2 min that end up in our environment. She researched the issue and is now a very vocal opponent of straws, sharing and educating her class mates about this topic.

I was so amazed by all her examples of how she made the switch away from plastic and how she ensures that her parents are also making smart purchasing decisions.

This is a future green giant, woken up. The power of a a middle school student that can truly change the community around her.

Seriously WAY TO GO.

 

New Rochelle High School Students Pitch In……in a big way!

This is Ms Reilly’s class. A bit of inconvenient weather did not distract them from their task of pitching in, doing their part and finding a way to solve a problem.

New Rochelle HS hosted We Future Cycle environmental education workshops across all grades and all subjects and students learned the power of one person. They learned how every solution starts with one person, that sees the problem and decides to do something about it.

And these students decided to be THE ONE, that will tackle a problem. The following Saturday morning, despite a bit of drizzle, 14 high school students fell out of bed early to go and clean up Lincoln Park and Memorial Circle. An hour worth of work that resulted in 6 bulging bags of trash. And these 14 students feel their life has changed. The power of facing a problem, and standing up to it, is truly life changing. It underlines the power of one!

Each of these students has begun to educate their peers, their parents and just people around them through their deeds. It does not go unnoticed when a group of students in green shirts (donated by Macy’s to the cause, thank you very much) are picking up trash in a public park.

Maybelin S.: It was beautiful because we all helped for a good cause, our world!

Lucero B.P.: It was nice because we were together participating in one project that serves us more in the future of our life.
Alberto V.: It was a beautiful experience to gather together to care for our planet.
Gabriela G.C.: It made me feel good because I helped. I helped to clean our public places. Now when I see garbage on the floor, I’m going to feel bad.
Faustino M.C: It seemed like something really great because we were helping our planet. We have to fight contamination.

Students learned about the detrimental effects of garbage in our environment. 23,000 tons of plastic is entering our oceans every single day, all because of human littering. Considering just how light a bottle or a foam cup is, that amount is a volume that is unfathomable.

Watching sobering videos about how marine life is dying because of ingestion of plastics brought home the deadly consequences of our “convenience”.

There was a heart warming moment, when a student raised his hand to share that he used to do contests with his buddies how far they could throw trash into the lake, but he will never do that again because he now knows. A solemn yes came to my question if he’ll stop his friends from continuing this contest.

Can we even solve this problem?

Yes!     Let me say that again.  YES, we can solve our garbage problem, but only together. Every person holds the key to success, everybody makes a difference, every day.

By cleaning up, by not littering, by reducing your own usage of single use materials, by modeling green practices to others and thus winning hearts and heads for the cause.

We can solve our garbage problem, because we MUST, there is no other planet. And these New Rochelle High School students got it, very clearly and it did not take long for them to put into action by organizing a clean up at Lincoln Park and Memorial Circle.

Way to go Ms Reilly’s class!!

New Rochelle Trinity 2nd Grader Study Biodegradable and Photodegradable Materials In Our Environment

Celebrating Earthday is no small matter in New Rochelle Trinity Elementary School. Assistant Principal Michael Hildebrand scheduled presenters from We Future Cycle for all Kindergarten through 3rd grades and the school was positively vibrating with good energy.

In class by class presentations, second graders learned concepts of what materials can bio-degrade and what that means in terms of this material entering our environment. They learned about decomposition, seed germination and a touch of the chemical processes behind that.

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Exploring if water changes the structure of plastic

Students had the opportunity to be hands-on scientists and explored how different materials interacted with water. quite messy in fact, but also eye opening  to learn and  experience that plastics are not changed by water, other than broken into smaller plastic pieces over time, until they are small enough to enter the food chain.

Watching a heart wrenching short movie about how wild life is affected by plastic in our environment started a spirited discussion on what each and every one of them can do to solve this problem.  Students decided to become vocal to educate other about the problem. Check out these fabulous posters as the result. These are mini-environmentalists on their way to become agents of change. Way to go!

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