Tag Archives: milk cartons

White Plains GW Elementary School Reduces Garbage by 98 %

Check out that pile of sorted out trays! Today was the big roll out day of the We Future Cycle Recycling Program in the 4th Elementary School of White Plains. The waste audit yesterday revealed that GW with its 650 students generated normally 16 bags of trash, weighing 235 lbs. All students went through class by class presentation by experienced WFC staff that skillfully walked the children through the realization that just because a food packaging is empty, it does not mean it is garbage and thus useless. Students learned that most of their everyday lunchroom packaging is fully recyclable if just sorted out, and they also learned that by sorting out the food waste, we could create compost, a valuable resource.

Looking at pictures of the piles of garbage from their school, generated from lunch and night clean, and then learning that there is no “away” for garbage was eye opening even for the littlest one. When asked if they were ready to save the world by sorting their waste into the right bin, they were READY!

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And they showed it in the lunchroom! Under wonderful guidance of the entire TA staff, and great personal engagement by the head custodian, the students, from K through 5 pulled off a wonderful job and reducing their garbage by a whopping 98% by sorting the materials into Food Waste for composting, Commingled for Recycling, Excess Liquid to go down the drain, and untouched food to be donated. From 291 lbs only 6.5 lbs were actually trash, one small fluffy bag, instead of the 16 heavy dripping and bulging bags from yesterday.

 

That is truly something to write home about. All of GW students can be proud that they are making a real difference every day now.

 

Waste Free Field Day, A Reality at the German International School White Plains

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Water Bottle Parking

The secret to any event is a very simple equation….what goes in, must come back out.

Under the guidance of Elementary Principal Dr Simone Bruemmer, and Green School coordinator Cynthia Nichols with help from We Future Cycle, 400 students and parents had a wonderful day of fun activities and all without creating ANY TRASH AT ALL.

The parents in charge of refreshments brought only finger food foods without any plates, spoons or napkins that needed disposing.  Clothe table linens were used, and instead of disposable single serve water bottles for hydration, the students brought their own reusable bottles and went to the watering station for refills.

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Water Bottle Refill Station

All there was to dispose was the melon rind or the fruit kebab stick, both finding their way into the clearly labeled compost bin, to be sent, together with the lunchroom food waste to the commercial composting site.

This school is an inspiration!

 

 

Only so little left! Celebrating a 98% diversion into recycling

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADiverting 98% of school lunchroom waste into recycling is now normal at the Westchester Schools that are running the We Future Cycle recycling program. This is what came out of a school with over 1000 students every day. 32 bags of loosely filled, dripping with left over milk.

However once the students learn about the impact sorting can make, this school is down 98% of it original amount. Only that small black bag, weighing 4 lbs is what is actually trash.

The three bags of milk cartons are now going hand in hand with the plastics to the Westchester Material Recovery facility for recycling, and the green large toter contains all the food waste and all the trays to be composted.

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White Plains School Milk Cartons Recycled At Material Recovery Facility

DSCN2827On April 23rd, just in time for Earth day, Westchester’s Material Recovery Facility added milk cartons to their list of recyclable materials. They are actually taking not only milk cartons which are called by the industry “gable tops” a paper product container with a PET lining, but also “aseptics” which is a paper container with an aluminum foil and PET liner.

A typical Westchester Elementary school is generating around 500 cartons per day. A mix of cable tops (milk cartons) and aseptics (like juice boxes).

We Future Cycle has been instrumental pushing for Westchester to join the surrounding counties accepting this material. The We Future Cycle recycling program includes sorting the milk cartons from day one. If the material was recycled depended how the school had their waste removal organized.

There are three systems of waste removal within Westchester school districts.

A: The district gets picked up by their municipality for free or for a fee

b: The district pays a commercial carter for waste removal

c: The district has their own employees pick up the waste and feed into their municipal system.

White Plains, New Rochelle and Mamaroneck are feeding into the Westchester MRF and are all We Future Cycle schools. They are excited to be able to finally have the cartons included with commingled.

White Plains has even made adjustments to their pick up schedule to accommodate for the increased recycling amounts as well as the drastically reduced trash.

Before implementing the We Future Cycle recycling program, White Plains DPW picked up trash every day, but now with the drastically reduced waste, and the increased amount of recycling, the schedule was adjusted to twice per week recycling pick up and a reduction down to only 2 or 3 times per week garbage pick up.

Commercial carters do not feed their materials into the Westchester County Material Recovery Facility across from Stew Leonard’s, they use the commercial single stream facilities in the area. The schools using commercial carters have been able to recycle their cartons from day one.

 

White Plains Church St Elementary School Students Compost Healthy Snack Waste

3ba6684d-abfe-412a-923e-0d5c14d498b8Students from K through 2nd Grade are carefully walking the blue classroom compost pail to the school courtyard that houses a lovely learning garden, a greenhouse with the first projects budding and a nice compost tumbler.

Church St Elementary School adopted the We Future Cycle recycling program in October of 2015 and has decreased its lunchroom waste by a whopping 98%, sorting out all recyclable and compostable materials. In the classrooms the students are diligently sorting out all paper and commingled into the correct bins, leaving very little for the trash can.

Now, under the leadership of Principal Castillo and Assistant Principal Jackson, the school is solving another problem. Mid morning snack!

Students were presented with common snack packaging materials and asked if they thought it was healthy for them. They all knew that chips, cookies, caramelized popcorn and traditionally single served packaged snacks were not healthy for them. One child explained to me: ” Chips are not food, they are just snack”

We Future Cycle presenters went into all kindergarten through 2nd grade classes and helped students make a very important connection. We eat to stay healthy, the foods we eat should be healthy to keep our body healthy, and foods that come directly from the Earth are healthy and naturally without packaging material. Church St students realized that their choice of snack can help their body and their Earth to stay healthy.

Students that bring their snack in reusable containers and are waste free receive a paper leaf, write their name on it, and then paste it to the Waste Free Tree outside the cafeteria. Check out this leaf sprouting tree! DSCN2821

Healthy food waste will make Church St’s garden grow. Two green children from each class are carefully placing all apple cores and banana peels into the composter and over time get to see close up the wonders of decomposition. DSCN2817

 

New Rochelle’s Jefferson Elementary School down to 1.2% Garbage

3 lbs of trash, all the rest goes into compost or recyclingThis is what 254 lbs of lunchroom waste look like, and — believe it or not—- only 3 lbs of it, was actually trash. Everything else is being fed into food waste composting and recycling.  72 lbs went as left over liquid down the drain, and the students sorted 15.5 lbs of untouched food out to donate to the local soup kitchen.

That is a whopping 98.8% reduction.  Seriously …. way to go.

Jefferson Elementary School under the leadership of Kim Nieves and LeAnn Bruno has always been on New Rochelle’s forefront to bring sustainability to their students.

Already in 2011, when the We Future Cycle Recycling program was in its infancy and New Rochelle was still serving its students on Styrofoam trays, Ms Nieves and Ms Bruno knew that making the students partners and teaching them to care and sort is a life long skill.

Fortunately, after a 5 year battle, Styrofoam is permanently off the menu in New Rochelle and We Future Cycle gives full credit for this to Jeff White, Assistant Superintendent of Business. Mr White, being new to the district, saw immediately the incredible social, educational and environmental value that the program offers to the children and understood that serving our young ones on a material that contains Styrene, a chemical that has recently been classified as “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” was inappropriate, no matter how much less expensive it might be.

Jefferson adjusted its program to follow We Future Cycle’s guidelines, so all New Rochelle schools are set up exactly the same.  We Future Cycle is enjoying working with Jefferson’s enthusiastic recyclers. There is nothing as rewarding as having a kindergarten student hug your leg and say thank you for teaching her to recycle.

 

 

 

Planting A Trash Garden, Hands on Teaching about Decomposition

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Cutting up fruits and vegetables, hunting for seeds

Even  a 3 year old knows that a wrapper flying through the air on the street is not suppose to be there. When asked if that wrapper ever goes away, the little boy stopped to think a bit and then came  a timid “no” ,  with a question mark at the end. Talking about “away” is a common topic at the Little Leaf Nursery School in Hastings these days and the students are learning.

Just recently We Future Cycle introduced  recycling and composting  and the students are now seasoned recyclers, knowing where materials go and where the food waste goes. They all reported that they feed the tumbler and they help tumbling.

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Learning about seeds, what can grow  and decomposition while making a trash garden

To bring decomposition even closer, we created a trash garden with the students today. We cut up some fruits and vegetables, looked at the seeds and planted them together with strips of aluminum foil, corners of paper, a hard plastic bottle cap, some soft plastic wrappers and some cut up fruit and veggie peel.

The students learned about prediction and we tried to predict what would grow from the things we just planted.  We will now keep our “trash garden” nicely watered and observe the changes.

 

The German International School of NY launching on-site food composting with We Future Cycle

fdc93e79-289d-458e-936e-c3c74b34d25cThe lunchroom in the German School in White Plains resembles more an upscale restaurant then a school lunchroom. You will find a decorative salad bar, a drink dispenser, a milk dispenser with your choice of 1% milk or 1% chocolate milk, a juice and sparkling water dispenser, the dessert counter with the fresh fruit of the day in a sun light filled high ceiling room, with light wood round tables. The food is all prepared on site, with the daily soup, vegetarian choices and meat dish.

b39b7799-e043-4e2e-b656-1efb956b6ecaChef Paul Boos, Food Service Director with Compass USA, personally serves the students and the school is proudly looking upon a 100% participation rate among students.

b8649d72-a671-4444-9da9-d94f088dd8b6The school uses only reusable dish and flatware and students are returning their trays to a counter that leads to the dishroom.

Now, GISNY, under the leadership of Edward Schlieben, administrator and a very active Green Team is launching into food composting on site. The handsome garden is visible right from the lunchroom and it is the logical next step in their journey to zero waste.

Come January 2016, students will be scraping their food waste into the compost bucket instead of garbage and the student green team will manage the compost bins. We Future Cycle is proud to be helping the GISNY on their path to truly zero waste.

 

Journal News covering We Future Cycle Recycling Program at Ridgeway Elementary

On page 3A of the Sunday Dec 6th edition of the Journal News is a lovely article about the White Plains Ridgeway Elementary school’s recycling program.

Akiko Matsuda, the reporter that covers environmental issues  for the Journal News in Westchester County contacted We Future Cycle in August to find out more about the program. We had long conversations covering the beginnings, the challenges and the successes.  Akiko was hooked and ready to see the program in action.

Schools don’t easily admit reporters but Ridgeway Elementary School is so proud of its lunchroom that they were happy to share the good news.  Assistant Principal James Graziano is an enthusiastic supporter of the program and together with his fabulous head custodian Pedro Molino showed off his kids with a proud smile.

We Future Cycle is excited that this news coverage has raised awareness in the community that other school districts contacted us to find out more about the program.  Thank you Akiko and thank you Ridgeway students for showing off that you can make a difference.

White Plains Church St Elementary School Nearly At Zero Waste

White Plains Church St Elementary School under the leadership of Principal Myra Castillo and Assistant Principal Merle Jackson have reached nearly Zero Waste  with only 3 lbs of trash from nearly 700 students in the lunchroom.  Outstanding!

Ms Castillo knew that this program can only work if all departments work together for a common goal. She allowed time for food service, facilities, teachers and teachers aids to be trained on why the We Future Cycle recycling program is so valuable for the social development of the students.

And both Ms Castillo and Ms Jackson are putting their money where their mouth is and are actively participating in teaching the students on how to sort.

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33 lbs of compostable trays sorted out

The system is easy. First the students empty their left over liquids into the bucket, sorting the container into either milk cartons or commingled, then all remaining plastic is sorted into commingled, all food waste and paper products are dumped into compost and the tray is stacked neatly. Done.

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42.5 lbs of compostable food waste

Church St had a whopping 76 lbs of excess liquid, a large bag of commingled, 2 large bags of milk cartons, 75.5 lbs of compostable material and only 3 lbs of trash, that is 1.7%. Nearly Zero Waste!

6 students helped with the weighing and counting. Thank you

Only the students that bring lunch from home in disposable packaging are contributing to trash. Non recyclable are chip bags, drink pouches, soft plastic wrappers, sandwich baggies, go go squeeze packaging and things along those lines. Next steps will be to actively involve parents to be part of the zero waste solution.

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Smiling head custodian Jody Raynor helping students sort

A huge shout out to Head Custodian Jody Raynor, whose support in this program is invaluable. He is being called  ” Mr Smiles” by the students.  Trust me, I am not making this up.  He does smile all the time, while helping the students to sort. Truly WAY TO GO!

Church St Elementary School is a prime example on how support by all departments can lead to something as fabulous as nearly zero waste.