For years, he and colleague John Griffin have recycled plastic water bottles to support a school garden. After the WFC sorting began in the lunchroom, his students, Lila Byrne and Natalie MacDonald, added this amazing turtle to the sorting station to help call attention to the animals that are effected as a consequence of our actions.
Rye Middle School has been sorting in their lunchroom for 5 months.
They are doing a fantastic job, decreasing the output of trash by 97%.
This has made the students very environmentally aware and they have embraced the spirit of the WFC recycling program. After realizing that soft plastics are the only items coming out of the lunchroom that cannot be recycled, students Jack Acciavatti, Trevor Reno, and Caleb Tuckman took it upon themselves to get their food service to make a huge change.
Before their intervention, cookies were put in plastic bags and tied with plastic twists. The boys noticed that the plastic bags and twists made up a huge portion of the items in the trash, and approached RMS principal, Ann Edwards, to change this. Their efforts resulted in cookies being offered in a case without any plastic wrapping!
Great thinking boys… you have made a huge difference!
Rye Middle School teachers have embraced the WFC sorting program in their school. Chip bags are one of the soft plastic items that cannot be recycled and end up in the trash!
But, teacher Julianne Corbalis has found a solution to this problem. She collects chip bags and uses them to create guitar straps! The picture shows the beginning of one.
Science teacher John Borchert got into the act by using chip bags to make a garland.
Great way to upcycle these difficult soft plastics…awesome job!
Rye Middle School joined all of the Rye Elementary Schools in implementing the We Future Cycle recycling-composting program. The launch was a huge success as all of the incoming 6th graders and most of their 7th grade school mates have done the program in their elementary school, they easily fell back into the routine of quickly sorting their waste. And 8th grade matched their stride with great enthusiasm.
Rye MS usually generated 140 lbs of waste from about 1000 students, in an impressive pile of 12 bags, all carried out one by one by the custodial staff, leaving behind a trail of dripping milk.
But no more, the We Future Cycle program separates liquids from packaging, and food from packaging. Easy quick movements to empty and sort. And the results are always the same. A stunning 96% diversion rate into recycling and composting. Only 6 lbs or 4% of the 140 lbs was non-recyclable and will have to be transported for incineration by Westchester County. That of course also means that 96% of the material is not adding to our air pollution, and we will retain the resources by recycling and composting them. Truly a win win on all sides.
And the numbers are adding up. A daily 136 lbs reduction in waste over the course of a school week is a 680 lbs reduction, and over the course of a school year, a whopping 12.25 TON reduction. That translated into volume and garbage bags would fill a school auditorium. 2200 bags of materials, diverted away from the garbage. Truly something to be proud of. And that is just one of the Rye schools!
The RMS community, led by principal Dr. Ann Edwards, were instrumental in achieving this result.
Rye School district is successfully implementing the We Future Cycle Recycling program in all aspects of school life. Each elementary school is diverting 95% of its waste into composting and recycling streams with students being enthusiastic partners in this program.
Osborn’s PTO just organized a fabulous “Scare Fair” and of course implemented the sorting program into that event. Despite the weather, there were wall to wall people enjoying the fun entertainment and the wonderful choices for food.
Food was contained to the lunchroom and 3 recycling stations were set up and monitored to allow for waste diversion, the same way the students are doing it every day. Consistency is an important factor for long term learning.
We Future Cycle representatives were on hand to supervise the sorting stations and use that opportunity to share information with parents and other fair participants. Most parents had heard from their youngsters about the program and were eager have their kids model what needed to be done. We shared data and background information with parents and other fair participants and most were quite astonished to learn just HOW much was diverted and the cost of garbage in general.
The Osborn Scare Fair diverted about 200 lbs of food waste into compost, about 8 large bags of commingled into recycling and only 2 bags were non recyclable items that made it into the trash.
Custodial staff estimates a 90-95% reduction of garbage through diversion. What most people do not realize. When we divert materials from the garbage, not ONLY do we ELIMINATE the emissions associated with the burning of that trash, we are also RETAINING the resources.
Can you image what it could mean if the entire country was to divert 90-95% of its waste into composting and recycling? Definitely something to strive for, and so easy to do. Just separate your waste! Done.
Ask these kids, they do it every day, without even thinking twice about it now.
With great pride We Future Cycle is sharing how it is growing. 10 team members are now supporting schools throughout southern Westchester. (3 could unfortunately not join us for this picture)
And what a journey this has been. From the humble beginnings of a single lunchroom to now soon over 40 schools, covering New Rochelle, White Plains, Rye, Blind Brook and soon also Mount Vernon schools. We have also worked in Eastchester, Ossining, Pelham, Tuckahoe and Mamaroneck.
In numbers, that is nearly 33,000 students that are sorting their waste every day. 33,000 students that have learned that there is no away on this earth. 33,000 students who now know about composting and recycling.
It also means that 33,000 Styrofoam trays have been eliminated from the waste stream every single day. Every one of these districts was using foam trays before We Future Cycle advocated for the clean switch to compostable materials. Styrofoam trays contain Styrene, now a classified human carcinogen, are proven to leach chemicals into the food that touches them. We are proud to have been instrumental in eliminating Styrofoam from the menu of 33,000 students.
33,000 students’ food waste is not going any longer to the incinerator to be burnt into our air, instead, it is being composted, creating nutrient rich soil, often sold as potting soil at hardware stores throughout New York State.
And these 33,000 students have families and communities they have changed by bringing the knowledge home and creating change.
We are excited to be saving the world one district at the time and creating a generation of students that care.
Come and join us if you feel strongly about teaching children to become environmentally literate.