Tag Archives: westchestercounty

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!

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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

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Second Grader Takes a Good Look At What Plastic Bags Do To This Earth…. and doesn’t like what she is seeing

BagBan_iStock_000004816308Small7 year old JaneMarie, a second grader in Blind Brook NY just found some plastic flying around her front yard. Running outside in her slippers, catching the plastic, she saw yet another plastic bag hanging in the tree, way outside her reach.  It made her very sad. She had learned in her school, that adopted the We Future Cycle recycling program about how important it is to keep our environment clean and she is ready to do her part.

imagesAmericans are  using over 100 billion single use plastic bags per year and someone calculated that once down to 857 per minute in Westchester County. A tremendous number with a very sad number of a less then 1% recycled.

images (2)The environmental foot print of plastic bags is enormous. They clog up rivers and sewers, they photo degrade into smaller plastic pieces and are mistaken for food by animals.  A great variety of animals, land and especially marine, can choke to death on bags, experiencing much pain and distress. If swallowed whole, animals may not be able to digest real food and die a slow death from starvation or infection.

The amount of floating plastics in the world’s oceans is increasing dramatically. The Pacific Trash Vortex is a ‘gyre’ or vortex of marine litter in the North Pacific Ocean. The vortex is characterised by exceptionally high concentrations of suspended plastics, such as plastic bags, bottles, containers and other debris, that have been trapped by currents. It is now estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Its impact on marine ecosystems is catastrophic due to its toxic nature and threat to marine life.

The convenience of people to use single use plastic bags puts a staggering economic burden on society.

Communities spent millions on litter mitigation and  flood mitigation, the environmental foot print is huge from the manufacturing to the disposal, all because of  short term convenience.

Westchester County is working on legislation to deal with this problem. Some communities have taken the solution already into their hands. Hastings, Mamaroneck, Rye are leaders that education and legislative support can teach community that convenience may not always be for the greater good.

 

 

 

Planting A Trash Garden, Hands on Teaching about Decomposition

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Cutting up fruits and vegetables, hunting for seeds

Even  a 3 year old knows that a wrapper flying through the air on the street is not suppose to be there. When asked if that wrapper ever goes away, the little boy stopped to think a bit and then came  a timid “no” ,  with a question mark at the end. Talking about “away” is a common topic at the Little Leaf Nursery School in Hastings these days and the students are learning.

Just recently We Future Cycle introduced  recycling and composting  and the students are now seasoned recyclers, knowing where materials go and where the food waste goes. They all reported that they feed the tumbler and they help tumbling.

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Learning about seeds, what can grow  and decomposition while making a trash garden

To bring decomposition even closer, we created a trash garden with the students today. We cut up some fruits and vegetables, looked at the seeds and planted them together with strips of aluminum foil, corners of paper, a hard plastic bottle cap, some soft plastic wrappers and some cut up fruit and veggie peel.

The students learned about prediction and we tried to predict what would grow from the things we just planted.  We will now keep our “trash garden” nicely watered and observe the changes.

 

The German International School of NY launching on-site food composting with We Future Cycle

fdc93e79-289d-458e-936e-c3c74b34d25cThe lunchroom in the German School in White Plains resembles more an upscale restaurant then a school lunchroom. You will find a decorative salad bar, a drink dispenser, a milk dispenser with your choice of 1% milk or 1% chocolate milk, a juice and sparkling water dispenser, the dessert counter with the fresh fruit of the day in a sun light filled high ceiling room, with light wood round tables. The food is all prepared on site, with the daily soup, vegetarian choices and meat dish.

b39b7799-e043-4e2e-b656-1efb956b6ecaChef Paul Boos, Food Service Director with Compass USA, personally serves the students and the school is proudly looking upon a 100% participation rate among students.

b8649d72-a671-4444-9da9-d94f088dd8b6The school uses only reusable dish and flatware and students are returning their trays to a counter that leads to the dishroom.

Now, GISNY, under the leadership of Edward Schlieben, administrator and a very active Green Team is launching into food composting on site. The handsome garden is visible right from the lunchroom and it is the logical next step in their journey to zero waste.

Come January 2016, students will be scraping their food waste into the compost bucket instead of garbage and the student green team will manage the compost bins. We Future Cycle is proud to be helping the GISNY on their path to truly zero waste.