The secret to any event is a very simple equation….what goes in, must come back out.
Under the guidance of Elementary Principal Dr Simone Bruemmer, and Green School coordinator Cynthia Nichols with help from We Future Cycle, 400 students and parents had a wonderful day of fun activities and all without creating ANY TRASH AT ALL.
The parents in charge of refreshments brought only finger food foods without any plates, spoons or napkins that needed disposing. Clothe table linens were used, and instead of disposable single serve water bottles for hydration, the students brought their own reusable bottles and went to the watering station for refills.
All there was to dispose was the melon rind or the fruit kebab stick, both finding their way into the clearly labeled compost bin, to be sent, together with the lunchroom food waste to the commercial composting site.
Can you imagine 110 times the amount of garbage as in this picture? Well, this is what Hastings-on-Hudson school district has not generated in the past year thanks the robust We Future Cycle recycling program it adopted last year. About 22 tons.
Thanks to the endless energy and support of Maureen Carabello, Treasurer, as well as the two head custodians in the elementary school and the middle/high school Hastings can look proudly upon major accomplishments.
Both buildings reduced their garbage so significantly that they reduced the number of dumpster by 50% and were able to renegotiate a $2000.00 reduction in their pick up cost.
Custodial staff was also able to reduce their plastic bag usage and purchases by 50% which is an expense often overlooked.
Truly an astonishing first year results. Hats off to Hastings-on-Hudson.
Food waste is around 40% of all waste from households, it is made up of mainly water, thus it is heavy. Garbage cost is calculated by weight. So all this water is costing the tax payer dearly.
Westchester’s garbage is being collected by the municipalities, brought to one of the several transfer stations within the county and from there it is transported in big trucks to the incinerator in Peekskill.
So basically, we are using fossil fuels (garbage trucks get about 2.6 miles per gallon of diesel fuel) to truck water 50 miles north?
The far better solution would be to sort out all that water laden food waste and actually compost it. Combine food waste with yard waste and nature will give us black gold, aka compost.
The absolute best way is to do it right at home. Have a little bin next to your sink and sort out all your food waste (no bones or meats though, home composters can’t handle that, commercial ones can)
And place that food waste in a ratio of 1 food waste to 3 leaves or woodchips into a composter. It can be a home made one,
or a commercially available one like these. And the rest is done by mother nature. Turning the mixture once in a while will introduce oxygen and thus help the bacteria to do a more efficient job.
A few weeks later you will have lovely compost that can be used in your garden.
Most people are afraid that composting will be smelly or attract rodents. With all in life, if it is done right, there is none of that.
I would like to thank the Westchester Municipal Officials Association for hosting this meeting.
Thanks to the introduction of the Town Clerk of the Town of Greenburgh, I was invited to present the School Lunch Recycling Program today to many leaders of Westchester’s municipalities.
In attendance were municipal officials of White Plains, Yonkers, Bronxville, Peekskill, Tarrytown, Ossining, Mamaroneck, Rye Brook, Town of Greenburgh and others.
I presented the cost savings, educational and environmental benefits that this program brings to schools and how these benefits will be carried back into the homes and thus back into the municipalities. All members in attendance were very interested and supportive and voted unanimously to endorse the School Lunch Recycling Program.
I am very grateful for that support. I am looking forward to working with these municipalities and school districts to make source separation, school food composting and recycling the norm in Westchester’s schools. For our children and for our future.
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.
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.