Tag Archives: newrochellehighschool

Outdoor Recycling Cans in Action at New Rochelle High School

20180517_162104Implementing a Recycling Program in a building with 3500 students is a daunting experience. It is a mini city. How does one get these many people to change their wicked ways?

We Future Cycle has done just that this school year and now 3500 students and hundreds of teachers and other adult staff are fully trained to separate their packaging from food waste so each can go into recycling or composting. Garbage was reduced from 100 bags every day, to about 2. All the rest of the material is sorted into recyclable packaging and compostable organics.

All 4 lunchrooms are successfully participating and all classrooms are sporting paper, commingled and trash receptacles, reducing garbage even further.

The last frontier were the outside areas and We Future Cycle and the high school grounds staff are tackling this problem now. Green recycling bins displaying colorful informational stickers as well as an educational board explaining the stunning economics of recycling are popping up next to the outdoor garbage cans.

And today, we took a peek to get the answer to the question. Do high school students transfer learned behavior to other life situations when offered the easy logistics. And the answer was a very satisfying. YES!

Check out this wonderfully sorted content of recycling bin. I promise, I did not mitigate before taking the picture!

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New Rochelle High School Students Pitch In……in a big way!

This is Ms Reilly’s class. A bit of inconvenient weather did not distract them from their task of pitching in, doing their part and finding a way to solve a problem.

New Rochelle HS hosted We Future Cycle environmental education workshops across all grades and all subjects and students learned the power of one person. They learned how every solution starts with one person, that sees the problem and decides to do something about it.

And these students decided to be THE ONE, that will tackle a problem. The following Saturday morning, despite a bit of drizzle, 14 high school students fell out of bed early to go and clean up Lincoln Park and Memorial Circle. An hour worth of work that resulted in 6 bulging bags of trash. And these 14 students feel their life has changed. The power of facing a problem, and standing up to it, is truly life changing. It underlines the power of one!

Each of these students has begun to educate their peers, their parents and just people around them through their deeds. It does not go unnoticed when a group of students in green shirts (donated by Macy’s to the cause, thank you very much) are picking up trash in a public park.

Maybelin S.: It was beautiful because we all helped for a good cause, our world!

Lucero B.P.: It was nice because we were together participating in one project that serves us more in the future of our life.
Alberto V.: It was a beautiful experience to gather together to care for our planet.
Gabriela G.C.: It made me feel good because I helped. I helped to clean our public places. Now when I see garbage on the floor, I’m going to feel bad.
Faustino M.C: It seemed like something really great because we were helping our planet. We have to fight contamination.

Students learned about the detrimental effects of garbage in our environment. 23,000 tons of plastic is entering our oceans every single day, all because of human littering. Considering just how light a bottle or a foam cup is, that amount is a volume that is unfathomable.

Watching sobering videos about how marine life is dying because of ingestion of plastics brought home the deadly consequences of our “convenience”.

There was a heart warming moment, when a student raised his hand to share that he used to do contests with his buddies how far they could throw trash into the lake, but he will never do that again because he now knows. A solemn yes came to my question if he’ll stop his friends from continuing this contest.

Can we even solve this problem?

Yes!     Let me say that again.  YES, we can solve our garbage problem, but only together. Every person holds the key to success, everybody makes a difference, every day.

By cleaning up, by not littering, by reducing your own usage of single use materials, by modeling green practices to others and thus winning hearts and heads for the cause.

We can solve our garbage problem, because we MUST, there is no other planet. And these New Rochelle High School students got it, very clearly and it did not take long for them to put into action by organizing a clean up at Lincoln Park and Memorial Circle.

Way to go Ms Reilly’s class!!

New Rochelle High School Offers Week-Long Environmental Program about Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Learning about “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” was eye opening for many High School students. They sat openly staring at videos of garbage floating down rivers ending in a soup of submerged plastic filmed underwater by a diver. They averted their eyes when confronted with the slow death of a sea bird whose stomach was full of plastic. They cringed seeing pictures of completely garbage covered beaches in the Maldives.

Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle was invited by the New Rochelle High School Principal to do 7 days of environmental presentation, open to all teachers, who could just sign up their class for one of the 56 available slots. And they did. Not just science teachers, but teachers of all genres saw the need for their students to learn about this enormous environmental problem.

Students learned that the source of the garbage in the ocean is coming from city street littering, they learned how rain water sewers at the side of the road are connected to the next water way without any filtering system in place. Any bottle, cigarette butt, chip bag or plastic bag that makes it past the grade at street level is going directly into the next creek, river, lake or ocean.

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Mr Trash “eating” Baltimore street garbage that made it into the harbor via the rainwater sewers

Students learned about how ordinary people rose up to find a solution to a problem that thousands have looked at and just walked by. The Baltimore Mr Trash, for example. an ingenious device that catches floating debris as it comes from the Joans Falls river before it goes any further into the harbor, and ultimately into the ocean. It shows that one person with the will to find a solution to a problem can make a serious difference and Mr Trash is now a solution that other communities can copy.

Seabin_Project_V5_hybrid_in_action_380x272-295x220Another solution students learned about was the Sea Bin Project.  A floating trash can  that uses a pump to create suction that pulls surface water (and the debris floating on it) into the bin, effectively filtering out debris as small as 2 mm. The inventors of this fabulous device just received a prestigious European Award . 

When asked what these New Rochelle Students can do to be the solution, one student suggested to organize local clean ups and the idea had immediate takers and the teacher enthusiastically took up management of that project.

We Future Cycle is proud to inspire New Rochelle High School students to strife to be the solution.

New Rochelle High School: Changing the world…3500 students reduce garbage by 90% through sorting.

New Rochelle High School is the largest HS in Westchester County New York, it is more like a college campus with sprawling hallways and mind-boggling amounts of students spilling out of classrooms when the bell rings. 3 cafeterias are on campus feeding these youngsters and until recently were generating a whopping 100 large bags of garbage e.v.e.r.y…s.i.n.g.l.e…l.u.n.c.h ! Filling up 3 dumpsters to the brim just from lunch, and another two large dumpsters from night clean.

New Rochelle School District has embraced the We Future Cycle Recycling Program and steps were put into place over the summer to include the High School. Principal Richardson admitted that he was beyond skeptical about how this program could possibly work in a huge building like the High School. He however vowed his full support.

In order for a recycling program to work, one has to address all players in the building. We Future Cycle did presentations to students, custodial staff, and security personal to outline just how we are all affected by garbage and how simple changes of behavior can make a HUGE difference. Putting the new knowledge to action, students started to sort their waste in the different cafeterias and learned that by simply sorting into excess liquid, commingled recycling and food waste for compost, 90% of the waste is captured and sent to reusable streams.

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This is the commingled recycling from 2 lunches!

Only 10% of the High School waste was trash. A 90% reduction of lunch waste is huge, looking at the sheer number of players involved. Instead of filling up trash containers, the high school is now filling up commingled recycling containers and food waste bins to be composted. Way to go!

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3 food waste bins per day for composting

Principal Richardson is exceedingly proud of his student body and is working with his Science Chair to integrate Environmental and Sustainability Education as Curriculum Add On.