New Rochelle Henry Barnard students are well into their second year participating in the We Future Cycle recycling program. From time to time, we go back into the classrooms to do more education around the topic and even the littlest ones are now sorting flawlessly.
They know what goes in the green bin, and what goes in the blue bin. And they are happily piping up when I was “making a sorting mistake”.
Teaching children young to care about the environment, to sort materials and foster the understanding that nothing is disposable is the key to creating a generation of kids that care.
New 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 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.
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.
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 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.
Recently White Plains Ridgeway 2nd grade students learned all about how important worms are for this world. They listened to a presentation about them, and got down and dirty to check them out up close and personal.
And now they are taking care of them and are writing about them. Check out what Maria and Saul have to say about them.
Worms Are Awesome!
By Saul Leon Huerta and Maria Clara Bornia
Worms Are Awesome! Worms are important for our environment because they eat food waste and then poop out rich soil. The worm poop is called castings. Their poop has a lot of nutrients for the soil and is good for all the plants. This is called compost. They eat our food waste, which doesn’t only help them but helps Worms eat half their body weight every day! Worms have to stay under the soil and the leaves so they don’t dry up and die. They have to be moist. Our class is learning about worms and worm composting. We are trying to recycle and reuse stuff so it cannot go into the landfill. We set up a worm composting bin in our class. It is called vermiculture. Our worms eat our natural snack waste. We gave them banana peel, watermelon, and strawberry. We made a hypothesis to predict what food they would eat first. Most of us guessed watermelon. We observed for a week and discovered they ate more watermelon. Our hypothesis was correct! Next we will give them an apple core. We think they will love it!
Under the leadership of Deatra Bailey, 2nd grade teacher at Barnard, students are combining lessons of economics with being environmental. To raise money for reusable sandwich pouches as part of the ongoing effort to cut down on single serve packaging that ends up in the trash, Students are selling healthy snacks taking turns to be the cashier or accountant of the operation.
Barnard Elementary school has students from Pre-K to 2nd grade, but even the kindergarten students are now old hands at sorting their waste.
Barnard joined the We Future Cycle program in January and has been exemplary in continuously teaching environmental awareness. Recently the students learned how to become waste free at snack time. Each time they bring in a completely waste free snack, they are rewarded with a leaf, this leaf, complete with name goes onto a tree in the lobby of the school, to be admired by everyone.
Barnard is now sporting a veritable forest of trees.