Tag Archives: recycling

Pre-Portioning in School Cafeterias….. The Cost Of For-Profit Convenience To Tax Payers

Public schools are facing huge challenges when it comes to feeding their students. Budget constrains and the logistical nightmare of getting  hundreds of students served in very short lunch periods make schools move toward For-Profit Food Service Companies to handle the cafeterias. Public schools have the option to participate in the Federal Lunch Program, which comes with nutritional and portion requirements but also with a nice reimbursement check in addition to what students pay for the meal.

Tax dollars are reimbursing the  Food Service Company for each meal, partially or entirely,  currently at $3.25 per lunch, and $1.75 per breakfast. Any purchase price paid by the student, also goes to the food service provider. So, food service company bid on the school food contracts with an eye on who has a student population that will have the least free or reduced lunches and might even spend money on snacks. Food service companies are actually paying the school district for the privilege of feeding their students. Capitalism injected into public education.

The National School Lunch Program championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama created a set of nutritional guidelines to ensure that food service companies are actually providing quality food for the tax dollars they receive. Minimum amounts per food group were established to make sure, students were not given only starchy (cheap) components. Guidelines on minimum protein and fruit portions as part of the menu assure that chicken nuggets actually contain meat and that fruit is not always the canned variety.  All in an effort to feed children as balanced as possible, with wholesome ingredients.

Feeding hundreds of children in a short time is very challenging and complying with all Federal Lunch Program Nutritional Guidelines is only adding to that challenge. And all of that, while trying to make a buck.

Thus Food service providers are turning more and more toward pre-packaging of components to allow for a fast grab and go, while controlling portion sizes closely. Minimum requirements and not an ounce more.

We Future Cycle deals with the management of the fall out of this pre-packaging craze. The cost of packaging alone, without the food cost is staggering and it does not even take the garbage disposal cost into consideration. That cost gets entirely dumped onto the school district.

We Future Cycle studied the flow of food service, the time spent to pre-cup and is helping schools to cut down on pre-packaging with only very slight adjustments to their system. It has cut down the labor and material costs tremendously, and made it much easier to sort the materials in the lunchroom.

Keep in mind, every penny spent on packaging is a penny less spent on quality food for our children.

This picture shows a completely pre-packaged lunch, two slices of plastic wrapped bread one 4 oz cup with lid containing 3 leaves of lettuce, 3 single serve pouches of dressing and ketchup, and a molded 3 compartment hot tray, with plastic covering that contained 4 oz of meat, and 2 oz of cooked vegetable. This was served on a Styrofoam tray with a pre-packaged fork, napkin, straw combo and an 8 oz carton of milk. The packaging waste is staggering.

There are better ways to spend tax dollars and feed out children.

unnamed (5) - Copy

Advertisements

Teaching Students Young To Care. Family Services of Westchester introduces WeFutureCycle Recycling Program into Pre-k programs

One of the added benefits of teaching young children about recycling is, that they LOVE the hands-on sorting portion. And at least one of the cute youngsters will want to sit on my lap during the presentation. It is just delicious having bright eyed 3 year olds in front (and on top) of you and asking them to identify a material and then place it in the correct recycling bin.

Family Services of Westchester is serving White Plains youngest students in their seven head start centers throughout White Plains. As the We Future Cycle recycling program is now running in all White Plains public schools, reducing garbage by a whopping 97% through diversion into recycling, excess liquid and composting streams, it made sense to incorporate the little ones already. Get ’em young and they will learn for life.

With wonderful support by each center director and the program director, even 3 year olds will learn that their actions matter and make a difference.

 

White Plains Post Rd Kindergarten Students Eagerly Helping With Recycling

Goosebump alert! I had the pleasure to visit the White Plains Post Rd Elementary School today during K and 1 lunch and it gave me such goosebumps to see loads of K students eager to be part of the solution. Each of these (tiny) troopers ate quickly and then asked to help at the recycling station.

White Plains City School District has implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling Program now in all of their elementary and middle schools, reducing garbage by 97 % in each building through source separation and diversion into recycling and composting streams.

These K students entered school in September and learned how to sort their breakfast and lunch waste in record time. And…. it is something so satisfying to watch a 6 year old casually walking up to the station and carefully sorting his/her materials in the right bin. As I was watching, students even took the time to explain the system to me and then immediately asked if they could help.

Shoulder to shoulder these troopers made sure that all their classmates were doing it right. Seriously ….way to go

 

White Plains Schools Racing Toward Zero Waste

All of White Plains elementary and middle schools are running the We Future Cycle recycling program in their lunchroom. All schools have reduced their waste by a whopping 95-98%, and are looking at just a few pounds of soft plastic as garbage coming out of their lunchroom, down from the hundreds. All the rest is either excess liquid, commingled recycling or food waste to be composted.

Before implementation these school generated a combined 1317 lbs of waste each day, resulting in daily White Plains garbage trucks to empty bulging 6 yard trash containers.

Since implementation, each custodian is casually slinging a single fluffy bag of garbage composed of plastic baggies, chip baggies or cookie wrappers over his  pinky finger  to carry outside. Lonely this bag sits in the container until it gets joined by the night clean garbage. So, all schools combined generate a mere 44 lbs of garbage out of breakfast and lunch together. WOW!

White Plains data per day

Here is that data extrapolated for the full school year of 180 days. A reduction of 118 tons of garbage through simple sorting. That is incredible!

White Plains data per year

White Plains schools are not stopping there, the race is on for zero waste!

We Future Cycle has also implemented a robust building wide sorting program, placing signage and recycling bins in each classroom, office and at strategic spots in the hallways. Regularly, we weigh and spot check what is being discarded and are delighted to report that some schools have reduced their building waste to a mere 25 lbs! From 700+ students.

White Plains schools are competing with each other towards zero waste! A worthwhile goal.

This is what 25 lbs of garbage looks like from a large middle school! 20171121_094958

Compare this to just lunch waste from one school without sorting.DSCN1900

 

New Rochelle Middle School is Digging Soil To Combat Climate Change

New Rochelle Albert Leonard middle school students are digging soil, in a literal kind of way.

6th graders explored in We Future Cycle classroom sessions the connections between throwing food waste in the garbage and climate change. Learning about methane and leachate got their attention. Just thinking past the garbage can is eye opening for these students.

While New Rochelle’s entire student population is now sorting their lunch waste between Commingled Recycling, Food Waste and Trash, thus reducing trash by a whopping 97%, they have not quite learned what actually happens to the food waste.

In classroom presentations, student were walked through the chemical process of decomposition, they chuckled a bit when asked if the banana looks the same when it comes back out and they quickly got the concept of nutrients, water and energy being the basis for life.

Making connections between how the apple tree takes nutrients out of the ground to grow the apple, which in turn nourishes our body when we eat it, and how the left over  still contains many nutrients that could benefit the soil if put back, but creates havoc if treated as garbage and dumped in a landfill, was a completely new line of thought to all students.

Students had the chance to dig through soil samples, seeing and touching the difference organic matter made in soil samples. They were tasked to make determination in terms of water retention capabilities, nutrient content and how plants might like to grow in that particular soil. Social Studies questions were introduced for students to think about how a the quality of soil might affect the wealth of a country.

What started out with students looking somewhat puzzled at three soil samples on their desk, ended in some fabulous essays about why composting is so important to the survival of our world. Great job Albert Leonard students.

 

 

 

 

We Future Cycle Brings E-Waste Recycling Education to Schools to Improve Dismal 3% Cell Phone Recycling Rate

1 billion cell phones were produced in 2015, with a growth rate of 14% annually. A shocking number especially looking at the dismal recycling rate of 3%.

We Future Cycle is bringing E-Waste Recycling Education to Middle Schools in New Rochelle as part of the Science curriculum. Students were asked to raise one hand if they owned a cell phone, and both hands if they had changed their cell phone in the past 18 months. Every single student raised both hands!

Every cell phone contains valuable metals such as copper, tin, silver, gold, cobalt, nickel, aluminum and lithium, not to mention the rare earth minerals like Neodymium, Yttrium, Terbium, Cerium and Europium. Without these metals, there would be no handy device.

Students learned about mining techniques and the unbelievable environmental destruction that goes hand in hand with mining in countries with little or no environmental oversight.

Touching upon child labor in African cobalt mines, learning about mercury contamination in the Amazon while mining for gold and seeing pictures of nickel mines in Mozambique was hard for students. They recoiled in their chairs and some even pushed their ever present phone on their desk to the far corner.

Peru-Gold-Mining-AsnerConnecting students to the origin of the devices they are using is the basis for them to become global citizens and to become engaged in responsible practices.

Students learned about the dismal recycling rate of only 3%, and they all admitted that they have drawers full of antiquated devices not knowing what to do with them.

New York State now requires all consumers to recycle e-waste in a responsible manner. It is against the law to discard a broken computer in the trash. Cell phones however are so small that it is easy to slip into the kitchen trash, but consumers are literally discarding gold!.

According to the EPA : 1 million cell phones contain 75 lbs of gold, 33 lbs of palladium, 35,274 lbs of copper and 772 lbs of silver, just to name a few. 

Recycling metals reduces its environmental foot print by a whopping 90-95%

Recycling cell phones is easy! Just drop them off at any retailer, they are by law required to take them back at no charge. To protect your privacy, take the SIM and other memory chip out and cut it in half.

 

 

Inspiring The Young At Heart To Make A Difference

With pleasure we received a note from an avid reader of our blog about how our recent blog post about picking up litter on the daily dog walk inspired him to do the same.

Making a difference is all about seeing a problem and doing something about it. We applaud this Young at Heart activist for demonstrating that any age is the right age to pitch in.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

https://wefuturecycle.com/2017/06/09/two-dogs-one-walk-around-the-block-and-three-bags-of-trash/