Tag Archives: newrochelleschooldistrict

New Rochelle Barnard students are detectives of packaging material

New Rochelle Barnard students are fabulous waste sorters. The whole school populations has never seen anything but carefully separating their lunch waste into excess liquid, food waste, and recyclable and non-recyclable packaging.

Students know to walk up to the recycling station after lunch and sort their left overs, under the caring and watchful eye of Nick, the lunchroom cleaner.

Recently, We Future Cycle presenters were invited to play some more with the students all around sustainability and material identification.

Knowing what is recyclable and what not is the key to doing it right. Wishful recycling, as in just putting stuff into the green bin, is actually counter productive and creates many problems at the material recovery facility in Yonkers.

Students sat in front of a large pile of common packaging material of all types and were playfully “helping” the presenter to place the items into the correct bin. Most rigid packaging materials made out of plastics, aluminum, carton or glass are fully recyclable in Westchester County.

We Future Cycle shared with the adults in the room that Styrofoam contains Styrene, which is now a classified human carcinogen and banned in New York City, with legislation on the books in Albany to make it a state wide ban.

Students also learned that it is easy to avoid making trash. We Future Cycle presenters shared with them just how much they personally did not like to create trash.

Students learned that -oh big surprise- gold fish taste the same if they are packaged in a plastic zip lock baggie or in a reusable container. After learning about where the trash goes and that baggies end up in the trash, every single one of them responsibly voted that reusable containers are a much better choice for our world.

A harder sell were juice pouches. Juice pouches are one of the worst packaging offenders in existence. Valuable aluminum foil is sandwiched between two layers of plastic. Unrecyclable and thus adding to the whopping 2500 tons of trash generated in Westchester County every single day. All for 2 min of sugar laced drink. Students learned and agreed, that a reusable water bottle is a much better idea for our world.

 

 

New Rochelle Ward School recycles boxes and boxes of markers

Once a week, a swarm of green team students are fanning out over the New Rochelle Ward Elementary building to collect used up markers from each classroom.

Students have learned that most materials can be recycled if they are just sorted properly and under the leadership of Mr Nodiff, the science teacher,  boxes and boxes of markers are diverted from the incinerator to be shipped to Crayola for recycling.

Never underestimate kid power when it comes to creating change!

New Rochelle Webster 3rd graders are STEAMing into recycling

New Rochelle Webster third grade students are STEAM-ing….., into recycling that is. In a recent science and technology block 3rd graders learned all about magnets, metals and their uses.

Ms Galano, Webster’s STEAM coordinator, wanted give this knowledge a tangible context and decided to invite Anna Giordano, New Rochelle’s Recycling Coordinator to the party.

Students learned how the science of physics is used all the time in the realm of recycling. Learning how concepts of gravity, friction, magnetism and resistance are bedrock of how modern material recovery facilities (MRF) sort the different recyclables was quite eye opening for them. Magnets are used to attract ferrous materials out of the recycling stream and anti current is repulsing aluminum to be sorted. Sheer genius.

20181101_141132Currently we are working on mass, volume and weight. And there is no better activity to explore that relationship than weighing lunch waste. Students are standing in front of their neatly sorted two bags of commingled, two bags of food waste, one bag of trays, one bucket of liquids and one bag of soft plastic trash. They make predictions on what might be the heaviest based on volume and then they get down and dirty and weigh each bag, standing on the scale. Isolating the weight of the bag without the child attached brought home that math is for the usage in life, and not just a tedious thing to learn.

Students worked extensively with the balance scale, learning the concept of grams as scientific units. They weighed common packaging material, such as a plastic bottle, a milk carton and some aluminum foil and were quite surprised to realize that just a little bit of liquid left in a container makes a whole lot of difference in the weight of the item.

Capping off the lesson with an explanation on how sorting will reduce their waste to just a single small fluffy bag whereas the other bags were going to composting or recycling, reiterated the basic concept of their daily lunchroom activity.

Webster’s 3rd graders are STEAMing……. into recycling and are lovin’ it.

 

New Rochelle Columbus gets new recycling station

New Rochelle Columbus Elementary School has been a front runner in environmental consciousness. This school joined the We Future Cycle recycling program during the early stages and Assistant Principal Shelly Owens has been a steadfast supporter.

Columbus’s lunchroom is teeming with kids during lunch, a well orchestrated bee hive of age matched students. 5th grade with K, 4th with 1st ……all to ensure an oiled machine of a student buddy system for peer help.

Until recently, Columbus was rather low tech when it came to the recycling station. But no more. Since September 2018, all New Rochelle schools are sporting a gleaming stainless steel recycling table with large signage. And students and staff are loving the new look.

20181019_131138 (1)Columbus school treasures its Green Team students that are up and ready to help their fellow classmates at the stations. Donned with reusable gloves they are hard at work to make sure that each material is going into the right bin. And the work is paying off.

Waste Audits consistently show a diversion rate into recycling or composting of 95%.

Can you imagine what our world could look like if EVERY SCHOOL diverted 95% of its waste. Not only would we reduce 95% of our trash, we would also retain 95% of our resources. Food waste makes nutrient rich soil that could replace chemical fertilizer. And recycling our papers, metals and plastics reduces the energy and water consumption during production by over 90%. These numbers are staggering.

And Columbus students totally get it!

 

 

 

“It smells just like wet forest” Trinity K students learn how to sort their waste and what compost is.

New Rochelle Trinity Elementary School is entering its 5th year running the We Future Cycle recycling program and students are getting trained on how to sort their lunch waste into compost, recyclables and trash.

Like every year, We Future Cycle presenters swoop upon the school and go from classroom to classroom to playfully introduce the students to the concept of recycling and to the problems attached to garbage. All students start out considering anything empty as garbage. Upon asking if they thought I brought them recycling, they clearly were reconsidering their position and some raised their hands. And they were quite astonished to learn that I just brought them packaging material, and they decided if that became garbage or recycling. It was fascinating to watch how something shifted inside them. THEY decided on something as important as putting something in recycling.

The We Future Cycle Recycling program teaches children to separate recyclable material from food and non recyclable material, and this reduces garbage by a whopping 97%. Trinity is consistently at below 6 lbs of trash from the entire lunch of nearly 1000 students.

Students learned that packaging is similar to Lego. If is put into the correct bin, it can be taken apart again and the same material blocks can be used to build something new. Students totally get that concept!

Learning that left over food can be recycled too was a bit of a stretch for them, but when I showed them what compost looked like and let them smell it, they all agreed that it is much better to make good soil than burn our banana peel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

New Rochelle Davis International Dinner Goes Green

This is the gym of the New Rochelle Davis Elementary school. Beautifully decorated thanks to the tireless PTA. The entire school was buzzing with the excitement of the International Dinner. Hallways walls were floor to ceiling decorated with the artwork of students depicting traditional things of their homes.

Tables weighed down with delicious foods of all corners of this earth lined the perimeter of the gym and in the middle of this all was one recycling station. Not tons of trash cans as it is often the case for these events.

Davis Elementary school under the leadership of Anthony Brambola and Laurie Marinaro have fully embraced going green and are actively supporting bringing recycling to all school events.

And parents had the chance to sort their waste just like their kids do every day. It was very charming seeing a Kindergarten student pulling mom behind her to explain carefully what item goes in what bin. And then she declared with a smile that mom now saved the world!

Yes, every one can save the world, one every day activity at a time.

Parents needed a bit of encouragement to actually look at the signage, which clearly outlined where recyclables, compostables and trash needed to be placed. But of course, once they got it, they were enthusiastic about it.

Saving the world is really about education and that small changes of every day behavior makes a huge difference. This event would have generated a whopping 20 bags of trash if we had not sorted it. Instead through sorting we had 4 bags of commingled, 3 bags of foodwaste to be composted and only one bag of trash (most of which were bunched up plastic table clothes…..mmmmh, lets switch to fabric table cloths for next year!)

Davis Elementary School is a shining example of how a whole community can be educated to become green..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

New Rochelle Barnard PTA Makes Field Day Waste Free

Field Day is a really exciting event. Hoards of kids, running, jumping, cheering for each other, screaming in agony over a loss or celebrating loudly for a win. Now imagine this chaos with only the littlest of our students, the Pre-K through 2nd graders at Barnard.

20180524_120355Today was field day at Barnard, and the PTA made this event completely waste free. Usually, the place is littered with ice pop sleeves, plastic cups, wrappers and empty bottles, but not here, not at Barnard. Thanks to the PTA president, who fully embraces what We Future Cycle has started in the school.

Barnard has implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling program 3 years ago and thanks to a fantastic lunchroom custodian, is consistently at less than one pound (!!!) of waste out of a lunchroom with nearly 300 kids. These 3 and 4 year olds may not be able to look over the edge of the recycling bin, but they sure know what material belongs in what bin. And when asked will proudly pipe up that they are recycling and saving the world every day.

The PTA President recently learned about We Future Cycle’s efforts to bring source separating and sustainable purchasing to all school based events so that learned sorting  behavior can be applied in other life situations as well and he immediately ran with it by making field day completely waste free. Way to go!

Kids were treated to water melon in napkins, that they carefully dropped into the compost bin when done. Voila! 20180524_120351

 

New Rochelle 7th Grader …Waking Up A Future Green Giant

Meet New Rochelle Isaac Young MS 7th grader Sophia. She won last years Green Writing Contest hosted at Isaac E Young Middle school.

unnamedOne day, while I was walking toward Isaac Young to teach 7th graders about what happens when they flush….. (yikes), she came up to me to share with me that ever since learning in 5th grade (from me) about where the garbage goes and what effects garbage has on this world, she has completely changed her ways.

She is no longer using single serve plastic bags, she only uses reusable containers for her lunch. She has a large reusable water bottle (that got promptly pulled out of the backpack side pocket as proof) and she re-organized her families waste management system, including starting to compost. Seriously way to go.

But she did not stop there, she learned about the detrimental effects of straws to our environment. 500 Million straws are used every single day in the US alone, little bits of plastic with an average use time of 2 min that end up in our environment. She researched the issue and is now a very vocal opponent of straws, sharing and educating her class mates about this topic.

I was so amazed by all her examples of how she made the switch away from plastic and how she ensures that her parents are also making smart purchasing decisions.

This is a future green giant, woken up. The power of a a middle school student that can truly change the community around her.

Seriously WAY TO GO.

 

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!!