White Plains elementary students know all about recycling. No wonder, all schools are participating for years in the We Future Cycle recycling program, sorting their waste in the lunchroom and thus diverting 97% into recycling and composting streams. Mamaroneck Avenue School is a particularly well oiled machine thanks to the super supportive administration and a head custodian fully on board.
However, even though these youngsters are masters of the sorting, when asked what happens to the material, their answer comes a bit hesitantly….”it is getting recycled…?”, the statement more like a question than an answer.
We Future Cycle had recently the opportunity to share the inner workings of a Material Recovery Facility with grade 3, 4 and 5. Students learned in auditorium presentations how the world of science dominates the sorting process by using friction, gravity, magnetism, anti-current. sensors and motion. They learned that materials can only be recycled if they are sorted so cleanly into just THE ONE type of material. They learned about optical scanners, contamination and wishful recycling and they were stunned into silence while learning what it takes to make some of those everyday materials. Can you imagine an auditorium filled with third graders in unison gasping of disbelieve and then stunned silence?
Learning about the environmental foot print of materials is the key to waste reduction. We Future Cycle empowers students to share that message with their caregivers. Nothing is more frustrating to a child that just learned to embrace sustainability, only to find non-recyclable stuff in their lunchbox every day. MAS students pledged to be agents of change in their community. Way to go!
White Plains MAS students are old hands at sorting their lunchroom and classroom waste. White Plains School district joined the We Future Cycle recycling program 4 years ago and now most of their elementary school population has never experienced anything else but stepping up to the recycling station and carefully separating their food waste from the recyclable and non-recyclable packaging material. White Plains schools are diverting 1850 lbs every day into recycling and composting streams. A 97% reduction of garbage through diversion.
Even the littlest ones are now really good at it. They cannot peer over the top of the bin yet, but -boy- do they know which bin is the right one for which material.
Every September and October, We Future Cycle hands-on trains K students, as well as refreshes the older grades on why we are sorting our waste. Keeping the environmental energy up is key for a vibrant and functioning lunchroom recycling system. Your hands can function much better when your heart is guiding them.
Recently, 2nd graders learned about what is bio degradable and what is not. Learning about how organic and inorganic materials interact with environmental factors such as rain and light is crucial to understanding the problems of the longevity of inorganic packaging material in our environment.
Through a scientific experiment students could learn first hand how organic and inorganic materials differ in their reaction to water. It was a messy affair, having 23 students dipping materials into water and rubbing it between their fingers to simulate environmentally induced friction, but they got it! Inorganic material as litter in our environment is a huge problem.
When asked what students could do to address the litter problem, great ideas came bubbling up. Picking up litter, doing trash treasure hunts, showing friends how to be better, bringing snacks in reusable containers to the park….. These students were fired up to save this world. Seriously way to go!
We Future Cycle is so proud of White Plains MAS students. The school adopted the WFC recycling program in February of 2017 and under the energetic leadership of Assistant Principal Rob Janowitz the school transformed the way it dealt with garbage in record time, catching the hearts and souls of the students. Empowering them to be the change agent and to run the program.
We Future Cycle presented to all students the detriments of garbage and how simple changes in behavior can make a huge difference. MAS students got it immediately.
“Sorting is easy and fun”
“I help every day with the younger grades and I love it”
Within a week this school was a well oiled sorting machine. Students signed up to supervise the lunchroom stations, teachers created the classroom job of Recycling Ranger and overall garbage dropped by 98% through sorting and diversion into recycling and composting streams.
This change even caught the attention of the White Plains Board of Education. Click on the image or link below to hear the BOE member and Superintendent gushing about how proud they are of their students. It is truly heartwarming.