Tag Archives: lunchroomrecycling

Who Are The Best Environmental Advocates? Students!

When we launch the We Future Cycle program at schools, we work with administrators, custodians, aides, and food service to get the mechanics of the program implemented and humming.  However, ultimately the goal is to give program ownership to the students.  They are the ones who must learn to separate their lunch leftovers into the appropriate bins, and they are the ones who bring the recycling message home to their families and extended communities.

Fortunately, this is not hard to do!  Students absolutely love sorting their lunch leftovers…it’s fun!  As well, they thoroughly understand that their actions have a direct benefit on the environment, and they know that what they do makes a difference.

This said, even enthusiastic students need to know that their principals, school lunch aides, and parents support the program to foster sustained compliance, and students also need a refresher from time to time about how the lunchroom sorting works.  Fortunately at the BMP Ridge Street School in the Blind Brook District, a 5th grader took it upon himself to spearhead that refresher!

Click here to watch a clip from the student presentation! https://www.dropbox.com/s/h94yg0f3mttkj5j/RSS%20Recycling%20Pres.m4v?dl=0

Jackson Welde, 5th grade student, noticed that his peers were becoming a bit sloppy in the lunchroom, so he asked his principal if he could create a presentation to show at the monthly school-wide student assembly.  (Click on the image to view a segment of the presentation.) The principal enthusiastically said “Yes!” and within a couple months, this presentation happened.  The K-5 students were attentive listeners, and they learned compelling facts about plastic and paper waste as well as about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  The presentation reminded students that properly sorting their leftovers in the lunchroom has ramifications to the health of their own environment, as well as to the environment around the world.

We Future Cycle encourages students to lead the environmental initiatives in their schools by making presentations such as these, as well as through Green Writing Contests, environmental education, and many other projects.  Giving students ownership of environmental programs promotes the values and responsibility necessary to instill a lifetime of environmental stewardship.

GETTING RESULTS: New Rochelle School District Eliminates Carcinogenic Styrofoam From The Menu

downloadUnder the leadership of Interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Korostoff and now  to be continued by New Rochelle’s new Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne, New Rochelle School District is finally eliminating  disposable food trays made from Styrofoam from all of its cafeterias.

Expanded PolyStyrene, also known as “Styrofoam”  contains Styrene and that chemical has been linked to cancer and has been classified in 2011 as “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” by the US Department of Health.

http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/29/styrene-officially-linked-to-cancer/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=06e8c5f2aa-Top_News_7_30_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-06e8c5f2aa-85840709

This is a wonderful development and a major win of the health and well being of our children and the environment over short sighted consideration of the pocket book.

Styrofoam trays remain the cheapest options for school districts to feed their children on, but cheapest is clearly not in the best interest of the children. Actually, it is unconscionable of School Districts to feed children on this material.

Styrofoam trays are only the cheapest because none of the upstream nor downstream costs of this material is considered. The material uses toxic ingredients, has been linked to leaching these materials into the food and drink it comes in contact with, and creates massive amount of garbage that is either landfilled and NEVER goes away, or it is, in the case of Westchester County, incinerated to then release its Styrene into the air (and guess who is breathing that air?).

When it comes to the health and weTraysfrom2schoolsll-being of our children and ultimately of our community…. CHEAP is not the right solution.

New Rochelle School District is also implementing the School Lunch Recycling Program in all of its elementary and middle schools and is paving the way for other large school districts to follow. If a district with 11,000 students can put the health of its students first, so can others. Ultimately, by taking Styrofoam out of the system, and teaching the children to source separate in the buildings and the lunchroom, thus diverting 90% of the materials from trash to recycling, New Rochelle is set to save hundreds of thousands of dollars so far spent on Waste Management.

A Win-Win and WIN situation for the children, environment and ultimately the pocket book. All it takes, is a change of attitude.