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New Rochelle School District Saves $100K+ Thanks to Recycling Program

During the recent budget presentations the Director of Facilities for the New Rochelle School District presented cost savings of more than $100K through implementation of the We Future Cycle Recycling Program.

(Click on the image or on this link to view the video).

These cost savings are possible through reduction in waste generation of 97% in all elementary and middle schools. 8,000 students are now sorting their waste and thus sending food waste to be composted and packaging to be recycled rather then all of it going to trash as it had been the case before We Future Cycle got involved. It was not a road without its bumps but seeing this kind of result makes the effort well worth it.

School Trash pre-sort (lbs) Trash post-sort (lbs) % diverted
Davis 208 10.0 95%
ALMS 281 14.0 95%
IEYMS 348 7.5 98%
Ward 283 7.5 97%
Trinity 266 4.5 98%
Webster 163 4.5 97%
Jefferson 254 3.0 99%
Columbus 400 8.0 98%
Barnard 84 <1.0 99%

Before the WFC program, New Rochelle School District had its own garbage trucks with two dedicated Buildings and Grounds staff members doing nothing but driving from school to school to school to pick up garbage. Each school, depending on size put out 13 – 30 bags of garbage from lunch alone and the same amount again for night clean. That added up to 211 bags of garbage per day from lunch alone, without the High school and its 80 bags per lunch.

Now, most schools are looking at one fluffy bag of trash weighing between 3 and 7 pounds instead of the previous 400 lbs.

New Rochelle School District is now able to share services with the City of New Rochelle who has taken over the garbage and recycling pick up for the district at no cost, other than buying the special split back truck.  The $100K cost savings is so far only the reduction in truck operation, garbage tipping fee, it does not include the additional savings of allocating the man power to other positions, the reduction of plastic bag purchasing and the increase of income generating recyclables to the Westchester County.

 

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New Rochelle Jefferson Students Win Cash Prizes In Green Writing Contest

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Applauding classmates

Under ear-splitting applause 14 New Rochelle Jefferson Students made their way up to the stage in the auditorium to receive their certificate and cash prize.

The Nina Chin Family proudly sponsors a Green Writing Contest every year. Nina Chin, a long time New Rochelle resident was a teacher and her goal was to make a students reach farther through writing, so she sponsored a green writing contest each year from her own money.

After her passing, her family decided to continue this wonderful tradition and chose Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle, to administer this grant.

Every year one New Rochelle school is chosen. This year it is Jefferson Elementary School, in the past Ward, Columbus, Trinity and Webster were proud recipients of the grant.

The topic was “How Can I Make a Difference?”

Students were tasked to reach within themselves to formulate ideas and foster personal engagement, going beyond writing what can be done in general, but more what each one is COMMITTED to do. Third, fourth and fifth grade students were invited to participate and 66 souls rose to the challenge and delivered stacks of heartwarming ideas and personal commitments.

One student had the brilliant idea to do a trash treasure hunt in a park, another decided to start a club with her friends to reach out to more people. One student admitted that before learning about trash through the We Future Cycle presenters he did not care where he threw his garbage. but now he makes sure to sort correctly and to make his family do the same. All writers had a clear understanding that there is no Planet B and that it takes all of us to be the solution. Fostering environmental understanding at this age is generational learning and will hopefully spread throughout the community for lasting positive change.

“Because when we take care of our Earth, we are all Winners”  strong words from a 4th grader!

New Rochelle Jefferson’s Second Grade Students Write Letters For The Environment

Students from Ms Starcevic’s class just learned about the perils of littering and they are not holding back about what they learned and how they feel about it.

unnamedWe Future Cycle just finished up teaching a program to all of Jefferson’s Kindergarten, first and second grade students on what happens to organic and inorganic materials in our world. The kids did a hands on (and rather messy…..and they LOVED that part) experiment to find out how water interacts with different materials. Afterwards they were invited to write about what they learned and if they were interested in more information.

Gabriella writes: ” I learned that I can pick up trash and that it is good to keep our world clean”

James learned that if you throw soft plastic then the fish will die, the turtles will die because they will eat the plastic and it clogs up their stomach.

Jaquan learned that the rain will bring the litter on the streets into the sewer system and that brings it to the sea and the fish can eat it.

Emalia did a great job retelling that she learned about how seeds grow and how to clean our Earth.

Tyanna took the time to recount the science experiment we did in class.

Monserrat shared that he learned all about seeds and how different they are and how surprised he was that they contained food. He also learned how important it is to clean the Earth.

Mia summarized very neatly that organic things smush (sic) in water and inorganic things look the same. She also said that in her house, bringing out the recycling is her job.

Alira learned that she will never litter and that seeds can grow into new plants

Every single student wrote that they want to learn more about how to make a difference in this world. They were attentive and all pledged to be good models, to never litter and to help clean up this world.

Thank you ! Ms Starcevic’s class for sending me all these wonderful letters.

 

New Rochelle ALMS Taste of New Rochelle Fundraiser is going green

Last night about 300 of New Rochelle’s parents had a chance to stroll in the festively decorated lunchroom of Albert Leonard Middle School to view lots of silent auction item as well as tasting delicious fare from fabulous New Rochelle restaurants.

The annual ALMS PTSA fundraiser “Taste of New Rochelle” was a relaxing place to meet and greet parents we only get to see on our (hurried) way to drop off or pick up our kids.

Last night marked also the first time that this event was source separated to mirror what the students are doing in the lunchroom.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAParents had the opportunity to sort their waste into “Food & Paper” and “Commingled Recycling” and they all did it with gusto and flawlessly. Anna Giordano, Executive Director of We Future Cycle, the not-for-profit organisation that was hired to bring extensive sustainability programs to the district was there to help at the station and to share the fabulous results achieved in all the schools since the inception of the program. ALMS has reduced its lunchroom waste by a whopping 95%, its building waste by a good 50% and its kitchen waste by 65%. All in all, that is about 450 lbs of garbage NOT generated every day, and that just from one of the 9 participating New Rochelle schools.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThanks to the program, New Rochelle School District was able to revamp its waste management system and save considerable funds. Carl Thurnau, the Director of Facilities for the district has just quantified it at the ongoing budget meetings with an annual savings of $130,000.

And of course, Westchester County is benefiting from the increase of recyclables delivered to the Material Recovery Facility near Stew Leonards. Recyclables are commodities that are sold back to industry for considerable prices.

ALMS Taste of New Rochelle generated 3 large bags of recyclables, one bag of food waste for composting, and only about 2 lbs of trash, mainly Styrofoam products.

New Rochelle Trinity Student Wins Cash in Essay Writing Contest

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Saboor Tahir with his Certificate

It pays to write!

That is something that Saboor Tahir learned in a very pleasant way. Today, Trinity’s Assistant Principal presented the gleaming 5th grader with his certificate and an envelope holding a nice cash prize, all in front of his applauding classmates.

This 5th grade class was part of the recent “The Science of Composting” workshop given by We Future Cycle. Students touched, felt and smelt compost and learned about what goes on inside the compost pile. Connecting global warming, healthy soils and a solution to a waste management problem was the objective of this workshop and students were tasked to write about what they learned.

Saboor Tahir rose up to the task and handed in an essay that very clearly reflected his understanding of the topic and  that he did additional research to connect these important dots.

Way to go Saboor! Congratulations.

New Rochelle Students Fighting For Less Packaging in Cafeteria

Meet Ben and Nate. These engaged 6th graders made an appointment with the New Rochelle Albert Leonard Middle School  Principal John Barnes to discuss the need for additional changes in the lunchroom. Both students fully support the We Future Cycle recycling program but want to see it go even further.

Armed with plastic wrapped apples, plastic wrapped cookies, Styrofoam FroYo cups and single serve ketchup pouches they made their case. Reading from their research notes they presented Mr Barnes with facts about plastic in the environment as well as the now documented health risks associated with consuming food that touched the polystyrene.

Mr Barnes invited the Executive Director Anna Giordano to the meeting to give the students the opportunity to hear what is already in the works in regards to these materials. Ms Giordano was delighted to meet these engaged students and shared that exactly these materials are on her list to be replaced with more environmental solutions.

Nate and Ben were invited to share their concerns in writing with the administration and they are now working on a letter to formally request the removal and replacement of these packaging items.

Mr Barnes was exceedingly proud of his students and rightly so!.

New Rochelle Trinity First Graders Study Worms With Great Enthusiasm

Picture1Walking into a classroom full of excited 6 year olds, toting your worm composting bin is an adventure in itself. The “uuuuh”, “aaahhhha” and “YIKES” were ear splitting, most students also expressed how gross they thought worms were. However, it didn’t take long for them to understand the important role that worms play in our environment.

Students learned how worms eat and the explanation of what comes back out was drawing big laughter . They giggled as they tried the new words out. Eisenia Fetida, the latin name of the red wriggle worm, is now a household name among these first graders. Worms and their “castings” were investigate under the magnifying glass and all students touched and smelled the worm castings to make a scientific analysis.

“It feels real smooshy and doesn’t stink at all, just smells like dirt”

“I thought it would be gross to touch it, but it wasn’t, not at all”

“The baby worms were so cute, I wanted to take them home”

We Future Cycle is proud to provide sustainability education to the New Rochelle School District and class by class, students are learning how things work together and how they can make a difference. Fostering understanding for the cycle of life and the importance of all beings in this cycle in young children will change communities.

Vincent’s mom already shared with the teacher how the information came home and how Vincent now considers worms and other critters his friends.

New Rochelle School District has committed funds to Sustainability Education knowing that it is a capital improvement project that will shape and educate the whole child. Truly fantastic.

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