Tag Archives: garden

New Rochelle Trinity Students Digging In Dirt and Loving It

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Inspecting Soil Samples

What happens to the food waste that New Rochelle students are sorting out in the lunchroom to be composted? How does composting work and is it really worth the effort? Those were questions that New Rochelle Trinity 5th graders are learning the answers to.

We Future Cycle, a not-for- profit organisation specialized in large scale sustainability programs has been working with Trinity Elementary school and its 1000+ students for years now. Source separation and words like commingled and compost are second nature to these kids.

In classroom presentations, students learned what happens to food that is put into a landfill, they learned about harmful Methane as potent green house gas and  large contributor to global warming and they learned about the chemical processes that take place inside a compost pile. Giggles and audible gasps were heard when they learned that each one of them is a decomposer as the banana that might go into their mouth does not come out quite like a banana again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe best part was digging in the dirt as they got to examine up close and personal four different soil samples. Inspecting them while looking for color, texture,  water retention capabilities and  organic matter content gave them a deep understanding of the connection between healthy soils and its ability to grow food.

Each worm they found was greeted with cheers and great enthusiasm.

Trinity’s 5th graders have learned now that treating food waste as garbage is wasting a valuable resource. Making compost from food waste and leaves is making black gold, and it saves a lot of money.

For more information:

https://wefuturecycle.com/2014/11/20/why-food-composting-can-save-westchesters-taxpayer-money-big-time/

 

 

 

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White Plains Church St School tackling Single Serve Snack Waste

White Plains Church St Elementary School students have learned all about sorting and recycling. Last year, the school implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling Program and has had fantastic results

Before implementation Church Street Elementary generated 196 lbs of waste in the lunchroom every day. But with the program in place, all liquids, compostables and recyclables were sorted out, only 3 lbs of actual trash was left over. And even 18.5 lbs of untouched food was rescued and donated. A win – win – win situation.

While this 98% reduction of waste through diversion is fabulous, these 3 lbs constitute a kitchen sized bag filled to the brim with single serve snack waste like juice pouches, chips, cookie wrappers and hundreds and hundreds of sandwich bags.

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This problem is now being tackled. We Future Cycle’s experienced presenters skillfully helped the students to see the connection between food and their body and ultimately their health. They all knew that chips and cookies were junk food and not good for them, but they mentally separated “snack” from the concept of “food”.

Walking them through reading labels, understanding the marketing behind colorful pictures of fruit on a package of sweets that contains only 1% fruit juice was an eye opening experience for them.

And then walking them through how what is not good for their body is also not good for the Earth as the single serve packaging is trash, energized them into making a change. The air was buzzing with students making suggestions on how to make a difference.

 

The Myth of Compostable Flatware

Check out this so called “compostable” spoon. This is after it has been in my active compost heap for over a year. No decomposition signs AT ALL, just as hard, shiny and sturdy as before. So why are they even called “compostable”?

These things are sold as disposable and bio degradable, but at least in my compost pile absolutely nothing happened to the material.  They are expensive and people are willing to spend the extra money because they want to do the right thing. It’s a $30 million  business.

Manufactures claim they will break down completely, but the fine print on the package outlines that only in commercial composting facility it might be the case.

Talking to operators of commercial composting facility offers a different picture though.

Alisha McCutheon runs the composting facility. She says a lot of her customers don’t know most facilities can’t accept bio-plastics. So, they’re in the mix.

“Thin things like bio-bags break down pretty readily,” says McCutheon. “Things like spudware, potato cutlery, forks and knives made out of cornstarch — they almost don’t break down at all.”

McCutheon points to a large pile of debris. It’s the leftovers — even a nerf football — that didn’t break down after five months of composting.

She picks up a compostable spoon and dusts it off. She says all the leftovers – including the spoon — are now on the way to the trash.

And, that’s not good news for the environment. And not good news for the customer that paid big money for wanting to do the right thing.