Tag Archives: ridgewayelementaryschool

We Future Cycle White Plains and New Rochelle Schools To Receive Westchester County Earth Day Award

We Future Cycle is exceedingly proud that the White Plains and New Rochelle Schools are honored at the upcoming Westchester County Earth Day for their participation in the We Future Cycle Recycling Program that diverts 95% of their waste into recycling and composting streams.

Ridgeway Elementary School Principal Tashia Brown will be receiving the award in the name of the White Plains School District and New Rochelle Jefferson Assistant Principal LeAnn Bruno will be receiving it for the New Rochelle School District.

Both are well deserved, both are champion supporters of the We Future Cycle Sustainability Programs and have gone out of their way to personally support the efforts of their students.

Congratulations!

White Plains Ridgeway Elementary Kitchen Staff Feeds 600 Students Almost Wastefree!

Meet the Ridgeway Elementary School Kitchen Crew. These wonderful ladies make sure that Ridgeway students are happy campers in the lunchroom. Salads, sandwiches, hot food, all is prepared fresh right on site.

Ridgeway Elementary School was one of the White Plains pilot schools to join the We Future Cycle recycling program and the entire school embraced the program with gusto.

The kitchen crew sorts all food waste into compost, all packaging material into recycling and they are also sorting all clean soft plastic into a bag which gets recycled at the local grocery story as part of the plastic bag recycling. This portion of the program is completely voluntary, and Ridgways kitchen staff is going every week above and beyond to do their part for the environment.

I was proudly shown their office size garbage can that sported after a full day of work just a handful of gloves and a few dirty soft plastic food pouches.

That is truly a wonderful example of an entire school community making a difference and going green.

Report From the Trenches: Head Custodian Talks about Recycling Program

Implementing the We Future Cycle Recycling program in a new school is a lot of behind the scenes preparation work, the building has to get set up, all players need to be presented to, flow has to be created, guidelines established, responsibilities assigned and only once all that is done, we get to train the kids to actually source separate in the lunchroom and thus reducing garbage by a whopping 98%.

One of the key player in each school is the head custodian and the success of the program is tightly connected to his/her buy in.

We Future Cycle sat down to talk with Pedro Molina, head custodian at White Plains Ridgeway Elementary School, the first of the White Plains schools to join the program two years ago.

Pedro laughed when I asked him to recall. He said he did not believe me initially when I talked about a 95% reduction in waste. He worked too long in a school and has for too long carried out 15 bags of garbage every lunch.

After setting up the station in the lunchroom and living through the blur of the first day of hands on training the kids to sort, he believed me, in a breathless sort of way. We did the waste audit together, weighed each bag together and documented the incredible reduction. Pedro mentioned : “I am going to be in trouble, I have so much commingled recycling now, and no place to put it”

Pedro jumped into action, and went about teaching his staff so that the system is providing consistency and continuity. From day 2 on, breakfast, lunch and afterschool programs were sorting, an incredible accomplishment.

In the beginning there was resistance from his staff. Cleaners thought it will be more work for them, but once students learned how to sort it became easier and easier and now, instead of having to bring out 15 bags in a span of 1.5 hrs, cleaners only have to clean up at the very end of lunch.

Pedro Molina’s constant support is vital to the program and his enthusiasm and guidance is the key ingredient to keeping the students engaged. He shares that he has a large crew of student helpers every single day helping at the station.

And it didn’t stop at school, Pedro has taken the information home and is diligent about sorting at home too. Seriously WAY TO GO!

White Plains Ridgeway Students Compost All Classroom Food waste

Check out these two recycling rangers from White Plains Ridgeway Elementary School.

20170104_104701_1They are bringing the organic snack waste from their classroom to the lunchroom. There it is combined with the food waste that will  be composted. White Plains has adopted the We Future Cycle Recycling Program last year and is working hard to make its schools a waste free environment. And Ridgeway is very much on its way.

The lunchroom has reduced garbage by a whopping 95% through sorting and diversion into recycling and composting and each classroom is doing the same thing.

Students learned in We Future Cycle presentations how to reduce snack waste by choosing naturally unwrapped foods as well as using reusable containers. Each time a student was waste free he or she got a leaf to paste on the “Ridgeway Caring Tree” and the tree looks beautiful and very “leafy”.

20170104_104939Every day, students of all grades bring their organics down to the lunchroom and carefully clean their pail. Head Custodian Pedro Molina reports that there is practically nothing in the trash at the end of the day.

 

White Plains Ridgeway’s 2nd graders welcome their “new friends”

Picture1Meet the new “friends” of Ridgeway’s Ms. Vendola’s second grade. Eager students learned all about the wonders of worm composting, or technically called Vermiculture.

We Future Cycle Executive Director Anna Giordano brought her composting friends to share with the students. Primed and prepared by Ms. Vendola, Students learned in a presentation about how worms eat, breathe, live and of course….poop. The worm casting is what makes vermiculture so desirable, talking about fertilizer on steroids!

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After learning about it, students got to check things out for themselves. On wet paper towels, in a darkened room, each student, armed and dangerous with a magnifying glass looked for baby worms and cocoons. They learned how worms can move and checked out the bristles on the underside (yes, worms have an underside) of the worm that helps them to move.  Picture3

And then we built their very own worm bin and some of Anna Giordano’s “friends” have a new home now at White Plains Ridgeway Elementary School. Students will do scientific observations as to what foods are preferred by the worms, how long it takes for an apple core to be consumed and how fast the worms multiply in a friendly environment. A fascinating, hands-on experience for the students.