Tag Archives: westchestercounty

We Future Cycle White Plains and New Rochelle Schools To Receive Westchester County Earth Day Award

We Future Cycle is exceedingly proud that the White Plains and New Rochelle Schools are honored at the upcoming Westchester County Earth Day for their participation in the We Future Cycle Recycling Program that diverts 95% of their waste into recycling and composting streams.

Ridgeway Elementary School Principal Tashia Brown will be receiving the award in the name of the White Plains School District and New Rochelle Jefferson Assistant Principal LeAnn Bruno will be receiving it for the New Rochelle School District.

Both are well deserved, both are champion supporters of the We Future Cycle Sustainability Programs and have gone out of their way to personally support the efforts of their students.

Congratulations!

Town of Greenburgh Eyeing To Operate Westchesters First Food Composting Site

Paul Feiner, long time Supervisor for the town of Greenburgh is an ardent supporter of green and sustainable practices. We Future Cycle is partnering with the Town of Greenburgh to operate the first food composting site in Westchester.

Currently the County of Westchester is spending close to a million dollars per week to burn its 2500 daily tons of garbage into the environment at the Peekskill incinerator. A look at the garbage composition reveals that nearly 50% of that is organic matter such as food waste.

Picture1

33% are paper products that could be recycled and another 16% are plastics, glass, metals and cartons that could also be recycled and generate income for the County, rather than being burnt into our air at great expense. Only 4% of our daily garbage is actual trash.

The weak link so far is what to do with the organic waste. Yard waste is already collected and most Westchester communities truck it out to a commercial yard waste composting facility in Rockland or Putnam County. At great expense I might add. Greenburgh alone spends  $ 1.25 million disposal fees just for leaf season. And that does not account for the actual trucking expenses, only the disposal cost.

So,what to do with the food waste?

We Future Cycle has brought their ground breaking recycling program now to many schools in the county, redirecting 95 to 97% of the lunchroom materials into recycling or composting streams and away from trash.

 

So far, the food waste is going to the Ulster County Composting Facility, quite a trek up I-87. They mix 3 parts leaves / wood chips with one part food waste and -voila- 3 months later, they have a salable product called potting soil that sells for $6 per cubic foot at Home Depot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
final product ready to be bagged

And why bring a valuable ingredient for healthy soil to be used somewhere else?

So, the Town of Greenburgh is stepping up to the plate to bring the first food composting site to Westchester County, keeping valuable resources within the county, reducing trucking and disposal expenses, lowering costs so that more schools can participate in the program and generating black gold. A total win-win situation.

We Future Cycle is proud to be part of this.

New Rochelle Students Fighting For Less Packaging in Cafeteria

Meet Ben and Nate. These engaged 6th graders made an appointment with the New Rochelle Albert Leonard Middle School  Principal John Barnes to discuss the need for additional changes in the lunchroom. Both students fully support the We Future Cycle recycling program but want to see it go even further.

Armed with plastic wrapped apples, plastic wrapped cookies, Styrofoam FroYo cups and single serve ketchup pouches they made their case. Reading from their research notes they presented Mr Barnes with facts about plastic in the environment as well as the now documented health risks associated with consuming food that touched the polystyrene.

Mr Barnes invited the Executive Director Anna Giordano to the meeting to give the students the opportunity to hear what is already in the works in regards to these materials. Ms Giordano was delighted to meet these engaged students and shared that exactly these materials are on her list to be replaced with more environmental solutions.

Nate and Ben were invited to share their concerns in writing with the administration and they are now working on a letter to formally request the removal and replacement of these packaging items.

Mr Barnes was exceedingly proud of his students and rightly so!.

White Plains GW Elementary School Reduces Garbage by 98 %

Check out that pile of sorted out trays! Today was the big roll out day of the We Future Cycle Recycling Program in the 4th Elementary School of White Plains. The waste audit yesterday revealed that GW with its 650 students generated normally 16 bags of trash, weighing 235 lbs. All students went through class by class presentation by experienced WFC staff that skillfully walked the children through the realization that just because a food packaging is empty, it does not mean it is garbage and thus useless. Students learned that most of their everyday lunchroom packaging is fully recyclable if just sorted out, and they also learned that by sorting out the food waste, we could create compost, a valuable resource.

Looking at pictures of the piles of garbage from their school, generated from lunch and night clean, and then learning that there is no “away” for garbage was eye opening even for the littlest one. When asked if they were ready to save the world by sorting their waste into the right bin, they were READY!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And they showed it in the lunchroom! Under wonderful guidance of the entire TA staff, and great personal engagement by the head custodian, the students, from K through 5 pulled off a wonderful job and reducing their garbage by a whopping 98% by sorting the materials into Food Waste for composting, Commingled for Recycling, Excess Liquid to go down the drain, and untouched food to be donated. From 291 lbs only 6.5 lbs were actually trash, one small fluffy bag, instead of the 16 heavy dripping and bulging bags from yesterday.

 

That is truly something to write home about. All of GW students can be proud that they are making a real difference every day now.

 

Waste Free Field Day, A Reality at the German International School White Plains

e53263ec-d918-41bf-88fd-f5c1c2bf5205
Water Bottle Parking

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.

6c8ae94c-892e-485f-9986-73cec48a3ed0
Water Bottle Refill Station

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.

This school is an inspiration!

 

 

Cash for New Rochelle Columbus Students Essay Contest Winners

New Rochelle Columbus Students are diving deeper and deeper into sustainability education and they are loving it.

We Future Cycle in collaboration with the St. John’s Episcopal Church on Wilmot Rd in New Rochelle sponsored a “How Do Plastic Bags Affect Our Environment” Research Essay Contest, open to 4th and 5th grade students.

Science Teacher Elizabeth Zahn taught in Science Lab the life cycle of plastic. Students learned that it took millions of years for minerals to be compressed to become oil, which is the basis for plastic production, whereas it only takes 3 seconds to make a plastic bottle. And this plastic bottle will take 1000 years before it goes away.

Ms Zahn skillfully walked the students through the realization, that saying it takes 1000 years to go away is really  a way to say forever. And that is truly what it is, plastic will NEVER biodegrade, it only photo degrades into smaller pieces of plastic that make it  into our food chain and are impossible to clean up.

Students researched the topic, wrote an essay about their findings and the judges Irene Schindler and Jennie Talley had a hard time choosing the top 8 entries among the record breaking 90+ participants. Nearly all 4th and 5th graders took the opportunity to enter. They knew from last years writing contest that Cash could be won!

DSCN2262Ms Nunez, Principal shared nuggets of wisdom from each winner’s essay with the applauding crowd and the students were very proud to receive their certificate and envelope, get a hug from Ms Owens, AP, and have their picture taken.

Here is a profound observation by Valeria Mendez  5th Paradiso.
“Did you know that only 5% of plastic is actually recycled, the other 95% is in the streets or the sea. Plastic bags are not the best choice to go shopping. THey end up in the sea, harming marine animals. And this is happening because of us!”
DSCN2271Naydelin Garcia Alonso, (5th Paradiso) understands that it takes all of us to solve this problem.
“Have you ever seen plastic bags stuck in trees or polluting oceans, lakes and rivers? Well, they got there by people throwing them out in the garbage or littering. How are we ever going to help the Earth? We all need to do our share to help”
Evelyn Madrid (5th Paradiso) understands the basic underlying reason for this problem is within us and how we value money.
” People and companies have been putting profit, laziness and convenience ahead of public safety. Companies don’t care about public safety and what’s good or bad for the environment, they just care about making money”
Jason Zheng (5th Paradiso) knows that nobody is too little to make a difference.
“Even though the world is already polluted as it is, we can still make a difference. Recycling correctly instead of mixing up trash and being lazy. Volunteer for shore cleanups. Don’t think your help doesn’t make a difference, because if everyone thinks that, nobody will decide to make a difference. Even the littlest thing, like using a reusable bag instead of a plastic bag will make a difference”
DSCN2274Valerie Schellenbach (4th Watkins) was blown away by the sheer number of plastic bags every year, and she shares :
“We Americans use between 500 billion and 1 trillion plastic bags per year. Did you know it takes 1000 years for plastic brake down, and only 1% of bags are recycled? All this misuse of plastic is causing severe pollution to the environment”
DSCN2275Darien Chen  (4th Guadanini) understands that every little bit helps, and what might look small for us, is a big thing if everybody does it.
“There are many negative impacts in the environment by plastic bags. Plastic bags harm the world and the living things. It is very important that we reduce, reuse and recycle. This may be a small thing, but it benefits the world that we live in”
DSCN2276Mia Torres (4th) has done some research on the long term effects of our current consumption projectory and she encourages all her classmates to let their voices be heard. You go, girl!
“Scientists predict that if we don’t start caring for our oceans that by 2050 there will be more plastic then fish in it? But you can make a difference by instead of plastic bags use reusable one. Make your family well aware of the issues and see if you can help out in any way by reducing, reusing and recycling.”
Arianna North (5th Pomerantz) is realizing that littering is not just bad for the environment but it also costs us all a lot of money. Money we could find much better uses for.
“All over the world we are having problems. The entire eco system is at risk. All because of plastic bags, that are thrown away. Thrown away but never gone. Did you know that each time you litter, you throw away money? “

 

 

 

 

New Rochelle’s Jefferson Elementary School down to 1.2% Garbage

3 lbs of trash, all the rest goes into compost or recyclingThis is what 254 lbs of lunchroom waste look like, and — believe it or not—- only 3 lbs of it, was actually trash. Everything else is being fed into food waste composting and recycling.  72 lbs went as left over liquid down the drain, and the students sorted 15.5 lbs of untouched food out to donate to the local soup kitchen.

That is a whopping 98.8% reduction.  Seriously …. way to go.

Jefferson Elementary School under the leadership of Kim Nieves and LeAnn Bruno has always been on New Rochelle’s forefront to bring sustainability to their students.

Already in 2011, when the We Future Cycle Recycling program was in its infancy and New Rochelle was still serving its students on Styrofoam trays, Ms Nieves and Ms Bruno knew that making the students partners and teaching them to care and sort is a life long skill.

Fortunately, after a 5 year battle, Styrofoam is permanently off the menu in New Rochelle and We Future Cycle gives full credit for this to Jeff White, Assistant Superintendent of Business. Mr White, being new to the district, saw immediately the incredible social, educational and environmental value that the program offers to the children and understood that serving our young ones on a material that contains Styrene, a chemical that has recently been classified as “reasonably anticipated human carcinogen” was inappropriate, no matter how much less expensive it might be.

Jefferson adjusted its program to follow We Future Cycle’s guidelines, so all New Rochelle schools are set up exactly the same.  We Future Cycle is enjoying working with Jefferson’s enthusiastic recyclers. There is nothing as rewarding as having a kindergarten student hug your leg and say thank you for teaching her to recycle.