Tag Archives: sustainability

New Rochelle Davis students learning how Garbage affects wildlife

downloadNew Rochelle Davis Elementary School students are expert lunchroom material sorters. The school is in its second year of the We Future Cycle Recycling program and has reduced its building waste by nearly 50% and its lunchroom waste by a whopping 92%.

To refresh students and to infuse new excitement into being green, We Future Cycle presenters went into all the classes today to expand on what the students know already about the detrimental consequences of garbage in the environment.

Part of the presentation was this 3 min video clip.

This powerful clip brought home to them, that there is no “away” when it comes to garbage and it lead to a healthy discussion about plastic consumption, personal commitment to make a change and the dire need for everybody to become engaged.

 

White Plains Church St School tackling Single Serve Snack Waste

White Plains Church St Elementary School students have learned all about sorting and recycling. Last year, the school implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling Program and has had fantastic results

Before implementation Church Street Elementary generated 196 lbs of waste in the lunchroom every day. But with the program in place, all liquids, compostables and recyclables were sorted out, only 3 lbs of actual trash was left over. And even 18.5 lbs of untouched food was rescued and donated. A win – win – win situation.

While this 98% reduction of waste through diversion is fabulous, these 3 lbs constitute a kitchen sized bag filled to the brim with single serve snack waste like juice pouches, chips, cookie wrappers and hundreds and hundreds of sandwich bags.

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This problem is now being tackled. We Future Cycle’s experienced presenters skillfully helped the students to see the connection between food and their body and ultimately their health. They all knew that chips and cookies were junk food and not good for them, but they mentally separated “snack” from the concept of “food”.

Walking them through reading labels, understanding the marketing behind colorful pictures of fruit on a package of sweets that contains only 1% fruit juice was an eye opening experience for them.

And then walking them through how what is not good for their body is also not good for the Earth as the single serve packaging is trash, energized them into making a change. The air was buzzing with students making suggestions on how to make a difference.

 

The Myth of Compostable Flatware

Check out this so called “compostable” spoon. This is after it has been in my active compost heap for over a year. No decomposition signs AT ALL, just as hard, shiny and sturdy as before. So why are they even called “compostable”?

These things are sold as disposable and bio degradable, but at least in my compost pile absolutely nothing happened to the material.  They are expensive and people are willing to spend the extra money because they want to do the right thing. It’s a $30 million  business.

Manufactures claim they will break down completely, but the fine print on the package outlines that only in commercial composting facility it might be the case.

Talking to operators of commercial composting facility offers a different picture though.

Alisha McCutheon runs the composting facility. She says a lot of her customers don’t know most facilities can’t accept bio-plastics. So, they’re in the mix.

“Thin things like bio-bags break down pretty readily,” says McCutheon. “Things like spudware, potato cutlery, forks and knives made out of cornstarch — they almost don’t break down at all.”

McCutheon points to a large pile of debris. It’s the leftovers — even a nerf football — that didn’t break down after five months of composting.

She picks up a compostable spoon and dusts it off. She says all the leftovers – including the spoon — are now on the way to the trash.

And, that’s not good news for the environment. And not good news for the customer that paid big money for wanting to do the right thing.

 

 

 

White Plains School Mom: “We are making changes to make a difference”

I am a mom in the George Washington Elementary School community in White Plains.

I went into my son’s classroom to hear We Future Cycle educate our children about the school’s new recycling program.  I was excited and inspired by the potential positive impact our children and families could have on our local environment.

I always considered our family fairly environmentally conscious but I didn’t realize how huge of an impact our family could have by making a few more small changes at home.After participating in the launch of the new recycling program at school, our family stopped buying paper towels, paper napkins, plastic wrap, and resealable plastic w610_fc-assorted2 bags.  We now use only cloths and reusable glass and plastic food storage containers.  We have also bumped up our contributions to our backyard compost pile and paid even more attention to what we can recycle curbside here in White Plains.  We are hoping that other families have been inspired as well and that together we can be a part of the solution.

We Future Cycle Trains Rye Midland Elementary School Incoming K-Students To Recycle

Midland Elementary School in Rye began its second year of the We Future Cycle sorting, recycling and composting program. We Future Cycle was happy to return to Midland this Fall to help teach the incoming kindergartners to sort their lunch waste.

Since kicking off the program in February 2016, Midland has diverted nearly 10 TONS of recyclable and compostable material from the trash based on their 97% rate in trash reduction. The benefits of proper source separation add up so quickly, contributing to an enormous positive impact on our environment.
Midland continues to have great support from the PTO, which has helped to keep this program on track by organizing many parents to monitor the process at lunch in the first few “back to school” weeks. The support from Principal Jim Boylan, Assistant Principal Joanna Napolitano, and the Midland aides and custodial team has also been invaluable to sustain the enthusiasm and smooth operations in the lunchroom.  Their efforts provide continuity by insuring that all students remember how to sort and the importance of reducing their waste.

The Moment That Made These Students Environmental Leaders

Meet Elizabeth Ortiz, Araceli Oseguera, Evelyn Argueta, Sofia Alvarez, Diego Ayala, Malaysia Dias, Alejandra Garcia and Isabella Ceja. These steadfast Green Team members at Columbus Elementary School have put themselves in charge of making sure the recycling system in the lunchroom is well organized and supervised. Every single day, they come up to help.

Today, We Future Cycle’s Executive Director Anna Giordano took some time to interview these future leaders to find out what their personal moment was, when they realized they just had to get up and do something.

Diego Ayala remembered that when he saw on his way home from school a soda can in the street with a small animal stuck in it, it just made click in his head and heart and he became a leading force in Columbus and his family to make a difference.

Other action stirring moments were the observation of a plastic bag in a tree and a bird having gotten entangled in it. Or a powerful documentary on TV about marine mammals entangled in plastic bags, or a pigeon getting stuck in a carelessly thrown away sauce cup.

Each student recalled this pivotal moment in their lives with great sincerity and it is that sincerity that shows each time they get up to help and go out of their way to make a difference. I am sure we will see many more great things from these exceptional students.

How to teach kids about Sustainability

Education is the key.

We only protect what we love,

We only love what we know,

We only know what we learn about.

Photo Courtesy by Shutterstock
Photo Courtesy by Shutterstock

So you want to be a good role model and teach kids—whether your own, nieces and nephews or a classroom—how to respect nature, be mindful of the waste they create and more. In short, to teach them about sustainability. And have fun doing it. Where do you start?

http://ecowatch.com/2014/04/10/teach-kids-about-sustainability/