Tag Archives: newrochelle

Locker Clean Out! A Recycling Challenge Mastered by New Rochelle IEYMS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe annual process of locker clean out entailed until today a line of garbage cans in each hallway, and students just taking armful over armful of stuff out of their lockers to dump. A school of 1500 kids would easily generate 7500 lbs of material, all in over 100 plastic bags. A tremendous cost to the school in terms of man power, bags and carting cost.

New Rochelle’s Isaac E. Middle School tackled this challenge with the help of We Future Cycle. The school has adopted the We Future Cycle recycling program last year and has since diverted 97% of its waste into recycling or composting streams. Students are sorting at breakfast, lunch and in their classroom.

So extending that “new normal” behavior into the hallways during locker clean out was no problem at all. All it took was 3 bins, clearly marked, some directions to the students and some supervision, and voila! 98% of the materials from the lockers were sorted into paper recycling or commingled.

Just. Like. That !

100 bags of trash transformed into 9 brimming full paper recycling toters, 2 toters of commingled and maybe a total of 15 lbs of non recyclables.

Way to go Isaac Young students!

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Recycling at a Middle School? Not for the faint hearted but New Rochelle Isaac Young MS pulled it off flawlessly

Any parent of a middle schooler can attest to the level of difficulty of making their youngster do anything out of the ordinary, especially if it does not involve electronics.

New Rochelle Isaac Young MS just joined the growing group of schools to have introduced the We Future Cycle Recycling Program. This program reduces waste by sorting materials into excess liquid, recyclable material, compost and untouched food to be donated. Isaac Young MS results were particularly astounding.

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348 lbs of unsorted garbage

From 348 lbs down to a mere 7.5 lbs, from 20 bulging and dripping bags to one single fluffy one.

Under the guidance of Assistant Principal Dan Gonzales and Head Custodian Bill Coleman, the school systematically put the program in place. The We Future Cycle Executive Director presented to all teachers, all security staff, all custodial and night clean staff and finally to all the students the detrimental effects of garbage on our environment and how easy it is to sort the waste into recyclable and compostable avenues.

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This is what 7.5 lbs of soft plastic looks like.

Teachers reported how shocked they were to learn about the cost of garbage removal to the tax payer and to society at large. Students reported that they had no idea that something as easy as sorting could make such a huge difference.

All of Isaac Young 6th graders had gone through the program already in their elementary schools and fell right back into the routine. 7th and 8th graders are adjusting nicely to the “new normal”. Both lunchroom cleaners as well as the head custodian are reporting that they were skeptical in the beginning but upon seeing the amazing results are fully on board.

We Future Cycle is excited to be also part of the newly created Recycling Club to bring even more environmental awareness to the students. Plans are in place to use the lunchroom walls for student made educational materials outlining the environmental foot print and end of life cycle challenges of packaging materials they hold in their hand on a daily basis.

Recycling at a Middle School, not for the faint hearted but New Rochelle Isaac Young MS pulled it off flawlessly. Way to go!

New Rochelle School Buildings and Grounds Employees Only Recycle On Overtime, Costing Taxpayer $800-1200 per week

money_fallingThese are my remarks to the Board of Education on June 6th 2014.

Dear Board,

I am very happy to report that the control measures that Dr Korostoff put in place seem to be working beautifully.

Until I reported to Dr Korostoff about the Overtime, we had every Saturday 2 sometimes even 3 guys putting in 8 hrs overtime to pick up paper recycling from all the schools.

For example, 3 guys doing on Sunday Feb 23rd 7 hours of DOUBLE TIME overtime to do recycling. Interesting about this is, that this is the Sunday after a week and 2 days of vacation, so I am not sure how all this recycling was generated with no kids in the buildings.

Essentially Mr Gallagher and Mr Quinn allowed that paper recycling, instead of saving us money in tipping fee, was costing the school district between $800.00 and $1200.00 in overtime pay PER WEEK, plus the fuel and of course the unfettered access to the truck.

And that unfettered access to the truck has brought us to these mysterious amounts of garbage being brought to the transfer station preferably on Monday mornings. Amounts that defy all reasonable explanation as to having double as much garbage in a spring month with a week vacation compared to a winter month with no vacation. School garbage should be only varying very slightly, relative to how many days of school there were.

I just received the 2014 BOE garbage amounts from Westchester Ct, these are the amounts disposed off at the transfer station in January through April 2014.

February, before Dr Korostoff put a stop to overtime was as much as November despite of only 14 days of school, March was 1.5 times as much as February, but I am happy to report that April tonnage compared to last year was down 30%.

I am fully attributing that to the Memo sent on April 14th to all employees essentially stopping all Overtime and by extension putting clear restrictions on the trucks. As well as putting all employees on notice that there is a new cat in town.

I am sitting on the edge of my seat awaiting the report for May, which would be a full month with restriction, plus a full month with two schools fully source separating their lunchroom waste.

This shows clearly that when controls are in place, things can change.

New Rochelle schools need a Time and Attendance System as well as a Vehicle and Supply supervision system.

 

New Rochelle Trinity Students Honored at Green Writing Contest Celebration

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe auditorium at New Rochelle’s Trinity Elementary school was filled with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders today and they were so quiet that one could hear a pin drop.  At 9:30 am Assistant Principal Inas Morsi Hogans and Principal  DiCarlo welcomed Ms Jean Chin and Ms Irene Schindler to their school for the first Green Writing Contest Celebration in Honor of Nina Chin.

Nina Chin was a teacher in whose honor the family is giving a grant to one school per year to host a Green Writing Contest. Anna Giordano was honored to be chosen as administrator for this grant.

Ms Jean Chin shared with the students the story of her mother and how Nina Chin has tried to always make a difference and had offered writing contest prizes from her own money for decades to encourage her students to be high achievers.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Trinity school has shown exemplary efforts to reduce its footprint with consistent recycling in the lunchroom and was chosen as awarded school.

26 students rose to the challenge of writing an essay or poem to the topic ” I can make a difference”. The entries were judged by three independent judges and they shared with me afterwards that there was a wealth of lovely entries and it was a really hard choice as to who would snag the coveted cash prizes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

7 students were awarded a  cash prize and every participant got a certificate and a hug from Ms Schindler, who is a published author, a  national prize winner for many writing contests, with over 70 (!) years of teaching experience.  She spoke to the children about winning a Chevrolet Bel Air at some point, and audible gasps of surprise came from the adults in the room.

Ms Morsi Hogans read excerpts from a few essays and it was very powerful to hear their words and their commitment on how each and every single one wants to make a difference.  All parents were clutching a tissue, it was very moving.

A lovely and inspiring celebration.

 

New Rochelle City Council endorses School Lunch Recycling Program

downloadOn May 6th 2014, we were honored to present the We Future Cycle “School Lunch Recycling Program” to the City Council of New Rochelle.

My presentation is the first 10 min of this clip. It shows the advantages and desperate need of this program throughout Westchester and the US.

http://newrochelle.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=268

We are proud to report that the City is working to enact both of our “asks” at the end of the presentation.

Environmental Change Can Come Fast with the Right Leaders in New Rochelle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn January of 2014, I gave this speech to the New Rochelle BOE reminding them yet again, that Styrofoam is BAD and that the lack of district wide recycling is costing the tax payer huge money. This is not a new tune, for three years, without fail I have been singing this tune and slowly but surely things moved.

It started with Mr Quinn finally admitting that recycling is needed (June of 2012), to him admitting that we need to be better at it by sending out a memo to remind all staff about the recycling laws in January 2013. I guess, he was tired of my bi-weekly speeches and constant emails with pictures of recyclables in the trash at the different New Rochelle schools.

IMG_20130307_134401In September of 2013, after my speech about Barnard not having ever used their recycling container and Isaac Young using theirs to collect water, Ms Brickle finally asked to put this topic on the agenda.

In January of 2014, despite my regular pushing, still nothing has been set. So I presented this speech to them.

http://www.newrochelletalk.com/content/remarks-board-ed-waste-waste-management-january-28-2014-meeting

This speech was the tipping point for Dr Korostoff to take decisive action. By April of 2014  Styrofoam was abandoned in 3 pilot schools, food waste composting and full source separation was established and garbage went down from 22 bags to a mere two handfuls.

And with that came the realization that a complete waste management revamp, as I had lobbied for for years, is not only possible, but advisable.

The plan is to have the other schools join the different environmental programs by September, as well as have the current garbage system completely revamped to allow for source separated material disposal, while saving the tax payer close to $500.000.

This shows that Environmental Change CAN come very fast with decisive leaders.