Tag Archives: Styrofoam

Environmental Change Can Come Fast with the Right Leaders in New Rochelle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn January of 2014, I gave this speech to the New Rochelle BOE reminding them yet again, that Styrofoam is BAD and that the lack of district wide recycling is costing the tax payer huge money. This is not a new tune, for three years, without fail I have been singing this tune and slowly but surely things moved.

It started with Mr Quinn finally admitting that recycling is needed (June of 2012), to him admitting that we need to be better at it by sending out a memo to remind all staff about the recycling laws in January 2013. I guess, he was tired of my bi-weekly speeches and constant emails with pictures of recyclables in the trash at the different New Rochelle schools.

IMG_20130307_134401In September of 2013, after my speech about Barnard not having ever used their recycling container and Isaac Young using theirs to collect water, Ms Brickle finally asked to put this topic on the agenda.

In January of 2014, despite my regular pushing, still nothing has been set. So I presented this speech to them.

http://www.newrochelletalk.com/content/remarks-board-ed-waste-waste-management-january-28-2014-meeting

This speech was the tipping point for Dr Korostoff to take decisive action. By April of 2014  Styrofoam was abandoned in 3 pilot schools, food waste composting and full source separation was established and garbage went down from 22 bags to a mere two handfuls.

And with that came the realization that a complete waste management revamp, as I had lobbied for for years, is not only possible, but advisable.

The plan is to have the other schools join the different environmental programs by September, as well as have the current garbage system completely revamped to allow for source separated material disposal, while saving the tax payer close to $500.000.

This shows that Environmental Change CAN come very fast with decisive leaders.

 

Goodbye Styrofoam. City Schools to Serve Lunch on ‘Green’ Trays

Here is a great article by Topher Forhecz about New York City’s decision to eliminate Styrofoam trays and switch to round plates made of sugar cane byproduct, starting this fall.  This initiative is “the first result of the Urban School Food Alliance –- comprised of Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, Orlando, Chicago and New York City — which formed in 2012 to boost the schools’ purchasing power in the private sector.”  Read the full article here.

NYC, Miami, Chicago and many more School Districts are ditching Styrofoam trays

The largest School districts in the country have finally woken up to the fact that schools, and the kids that are in those schools are the biggest players in environmental and sustainable planning.

Doing an Earthday project and then calling it done as far as it goes for instruction around sustainability is NOT ENOUGH.

Fortunately, the largest school districts are starting to wake up, that life is not disposable around us and that it is not cheaper and better to serve children on disposable Styrofoam trays. BTW, these trays are made of Polystyrene which has been classified as “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” by the US Dept of Health in 2011.

Here is an excellent read on that topic. Some Westchester school districts are already following suit, but some is not enough. Westchester incinerates its garbage and guess who is breathing the air after burning 100.000 Styrofoam trays per day.

http://ecowatch.com/2013/12/05/schools-ditch-styrofoam-for-compostable/

Education Is The Key to Recycling and Recycling Saves Money

A very simple equation: what goes in, must come out.

This is valid for how New Rochelle’s schools are dealing with their garbage.

Here is a interesting article on how nationwide schools are the key to recycling and environmental awareness, but not all schools are equal in that regard.

http://www.wasterecyclingnews.com/article/20130903/NEWS02/130829934/educ…

New Rochelle’s schools were until 2011 doing absolutely nothing in ways of recycling.
I started pushing the issue and with great pride I can say that we now have 5 schools actively source separating in the lunchrooms as well as more or less streaming the building waste. There are still many ways on how that can be improved and the students are the key to it all.

Education and hands on involvement is what is needed to -literally- bring the message home.

But nothing is more detrimental to a child than to see that no matter his effort to recycle, the custodian will just throw it all back together.

Education is the key, but the adult support is the lock. We cannot open the door to a more sustainable future with all its benefits without adult commitment.

I am calling for New Rochelle’s schools to increase its environmental education and I am calling for Buildings and Grounds to actually live up to Mr Quinn’s recycling mandate.

Styrofoam Used in New Rochelle’s Lunchroom Classified as ” reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” by US Department of Health

 

I shared this at the New Rochelle Board of Education Meeting on February 4th, 2014

Dear Board,

I wanted to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Dr Korostoff.

Ever since he took the helm of this school district, he has been incredibly supportive of recycling. He, as an educator, immediately understood that for children to learn to respect Earth and its resources is as important as reading and writing. As a matter of fact, it is actually called “Environmental Literacy”. That is what I want New Rochelle students to become: environmentally literate. And with that knowledge change will come to our communities. But it has to start in the schools and schools have to be the good example.

For a school to be a good example means to eliminate disposables that are used in the school, which brings me back to these dreaded Styrofoam trays, these awful plastic spork packages and other single serve packaging currently used in the schools.

You have heard from me plenty of times why Styrofoam trays are bad for the children, bad for the environment and bad for the bottom line. You have mostly gravely nodded your head in approval or maybe just out of good manners. However, the banning of Styrofoam from New Rochelle’s lunchrooms is in your hands and your hands alone. Continue reading Styrofoam Used in New Rochelle’s Lunchroom Classified as ” reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” by US Department of Health

New Rochelle School District could save $500.000 through revamping Waste Management System

Yesterdays BOE meeting took place at Jefferson Elementary School and the presentation given by the student was very charming. I have to say, by far the most charming I have ever seen. There was a very lovely choir, first on stage and later on the balcony, with a music teacher who was so on fire and filling the room with good energy. I had goose bumps!

Then there were 1st graders that did an outstanding presentation on Polar Bears, every one on the mic, really well done. Hats off to all teachers involved.

I also very much liked the presentation by Dr Weiss about Lice (I am actually feeling itching just typing this). Dr Weiss managed to really bring to point the misguided no-nit policy that the district had been following, but fortunately has recently abandoned. Continue reading New Rochelle School District could save $500.000 through revamping Waste Management System

New Rochelle School Food Waste A Gold Mine, Not Garbage

It is a long known fact that organic waste can be turned into valuable methane, used for cooking, heating or propelling vehicles.

Westchester is working on a pilot project to create a small scale bio plant at Greenburgh Nature center to convert food and organic waste into compressed gas to be used to run DPW trucks. What a fabulous project.

Please take a moment to read the following article that shows that Brooklyn is so far ahead of Westchester.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/city-approves-project-turn-…

NYC Passes Styrofoam Ban ! New Rochelle School District Please Follow that Lead!

Traysfrom2schools
New Rochelle Trays – 9 Days of Trays From Only 2 Schools

NY City Council passed yesterday the 1060A Bill, which bans certain Expanded PolyStyrene products from use by January 2015. These EPS products include single use food Styrofoam as in school trays and such. WHOHOOOO. This is a major victory of our children’s health versus the mighty Plastic Industry!

This ban is particularly interesting to us in New Rochelle because it sets the stage to follow it by moving away from disposables in our schools. New Rochelle’s schools are serving lunch to our kids on disposable Styrofoam trays. It creates a huge mountain of garbage, and the district allocates enormous funds to dispose of this garbage. Funds that could be used instead in the class room. It also teaches our kids that life around them is disposable and that is truly nothing we want to teach our children. Continue reading NYC Passes Styrofoam Ban ! New Rochelle School District Please Follow that Lead!

NYC, Miami and 27 other large School districts are ditching Styrofoam trays

I have shared with the Board the following article from The New York TimesUrban Schools Aim for Environmental Revolution, and then emailed them my comments below.

Dear Board,

I hope you all had a lovely and peaceful Thanksgiving break and I commend you for spending so much of your time on School issues.

Continue reading NYC, Miami and 27 other large School districts are ditching Styrofoam trays

NYC versus the mighty Plastic Industry, Styrofoam Banning Legislation in the making

Big things happened in NYC City Hall.

On Monday, Dec 2nd, a Council Meeting took place discussing the outright banning of Expanded Poly Styrene, more commonly known as Styrofoam. Here is a run down on what happened.

Polystyrene Ban Hearing Overview from Jennifer Prescott:

Deputy Mayor, Cas Halloway’s testimony was clear and substantial. He outlined the comprehensive research that proceeded the conclusion that it is in the City’s best interest to ban Polystyrene. He and Deputy Commissioner Ron Gonan repeatedly stated that over 27 US cities have already done so with no evidence of a downside. The City’s research concluded that there simply isn’t enough of a market for recycled Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and that EPS is not recyclable once it has been contaminated by food. Both assertions were supported by Sims Municipal Recycling general manager, Thomas Outerbridge. EPS manufacturer, DART, testified that they have purposed a working plan to separate the NYC EPS and cart it by rail to their 50 million dollar (yet to be built/retro-fit) Indianapolis-based Plastics Recycling facility, where it will be cleaned and recycled. DART’s plan supported (3) city council member’s opinion’s that EPS should be recycled. Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Diana Reyna, and Robert Jackson all feel that an outright ban will adversely affect small businesses in their districts, primarily small, take-out restaurants and bodegas. Councilman Robert Jackson and Councilwoman Diana Reyna have introduced a bill with Brooklyn to add plastic foam to the city’s curbside recycling program. DART, the leading manufacturer of EPS (and $120,000 contributor to the plastics lobby against the ban), testified to the recyclability of EPS and introduced a conspiracy theory suggesting that Ron Gonan has undermined any possibility of recycling the material with SIMS. SIMS GM, Thomas Outerbridge, debunked their assertion by confirming that all correspondence between SIMS and DART were uncorrupted by any outside parties – including the DOS. Councilman Lewis Fidler tore into DART’s arguments and assertions that it is cost effective and feasible to recycle EPS. The overall concern is that by declaring EPS “recyclable”, without a facility available to clean and handle the material, we are effectively prolonging a landfill destination for unknown years to come. In addition, even if EPS were to be found “recyclable”, NYC’s EPS is primarily food containers that end up in the home or restaurant garbage. Separating it out for recycling would require extra hauling lines for curbside pick-up, costing the City $70 million per year. As far at the D3 Green Schools Group testimony was concerned, I was heard very late in the proceedings on a panel that included Debby Lee Cohen (Cafeteria Culture). Lisa Maller drew up a comprehensive testimony that outlined our stance on the proposed City-wide Polystyrene ban (I believe that the testimony was posted to the D3 Green Schools Group list serve last week). I went off-script to add a few comments pertaining to the medical/health consequences (and the troubling lack of testimony regarding health) connected to EPS.

City Council members in attendance: Maria del Carmen Arroyo Peter F. Vallone, Jr. Lewis A. Fidler Diana Reyna Robert Jackson Albert Vann Letitia James Jessica S. Lappin