Tag Archives: whiteplainsschooldistrict

We Future Cycle Is Growing, Servicing Soon More Than 40 Schools

With great pride We Future Cycle is sharing how it is growing. 10 team members are now supporting schools throughout southern Westchester. (3 could unfortunately not join us for this picture)

And what a journey this has been. From the humble beginnings of a single lunchroom to now soon over 40 schools, covering New Rochelle, White Plains, Rye, Blind Brook and soon also Mount Vernon schools. We have also worked in Eastchester, Ossining, Pelham, Tuckahoe and Mamaroneck.

In numbers, that is nearly 33,000 students that are sorting their waste every day. 33,000 students that have learned that there is no away on this earth. 33,000 students who now know about composting and recycling.

It also means that 33,000 Styrofoam trays have been eliminated from the waste stream every single day. Every one of these districts was using foam trays before We Future Cycle advocated for the clean switch to compostable materials. Styrofoam trays contain Styrene, now a classified human carcinogen, are proven to leach chemicals into the food that touches them. We are proud to have been instrumental in eliminating Styrofoam from the menu of 33,000 students.

33,000 students’ food waste is not going any longer to the incinerator to be burnt into our air, instead, it is being composted, creating nutrient rich soil, often sold as potting soil at hardware stores throughout New York State.

And these 33,000 students have families and communities they have changed by bringing the knowledge home and creating change.

We are excited to be saving the world one district at the time and creating a generation of students that care.

Come and join us if you feel strongly about teaching children to become environmentally literate.



White Plains Post Rd Kindergarten Students Eagerly Helping With Recycling

Goosebump alert! I had the pleasure to visit the White Plains Post Rd Elementary School today during K and 1 lunch and it gave me such goosebumps to see loads of K students eager to be part of the solution. Each of these (tiny) troopers ate quickly and then asked to help at the recycling station.

White Plains City School District has implemented the We Future Cycle Recycling Program now in all of their elementary and middle schools, reducing garbage by 97 % in each building through source separation and diversion into recycling and composting streams.

These K students entered school in September and learned how to sort their breakfast and lunch waste in record time. And…. it is something so satisfying to watch a 6 year old casually walking up to the station and carefully sorting his/her materials in the right bin. As I was watching, students even took the time to explain the system to me and then immediately asked if they could help.

Shoulder to shoulder these troopers made sure that all their classmates were doing it right. Seriously ….way to go


White Plains Schools Racing Toward Zero Waste

All of White Plains elementary and middle schools are running the We Future Cycle recycling program in their lunchroom. All schools have reduced their waste by a whopping 95-98%, and are looking at just a few pounds of soft plastic as garbage coming out of their lunchroom, down from the hundreds. All the rest is either excess liquid, commingled recycling or food waste to be composted.

Before implementation these school generated a combined 1317 lbs of waste each day, resulting in daily White Plains garbage trucks to empty bulging 6 yard trash containers.

Since implementation, each custodian is casually slinging a single fluffy bag of garbage composed of plastic baggies, chip baggies or cookie wrappers over his  pinky finger  to carry outside. Lonely this bag sits in the container until it gets joined by the night clean garbage. So, all schools combined generate a mere 44 lbs of garbage out of breakfast and lunch together. WOW!

White Plains data per day

Here is that data extrapolated for the full school year of 180 days. A reduction of 118 tons of garbage through simple sorting. That is incredible!

White Plains data per year

White Plains schools are not stopping there, the race is on for zero waste!

We Future Cycle has also implemented a robust building wide sorting program, placing signage and recycling bins in each classroom, office and at strategic spots in the hallways. Regularly, we weigh and spot check what is being discarded and are delighted to report that some schools have reduced their building waste to a mere 25 lbs! From 700+ students.

White Plains schools are competing with each other towards zero waste! A worthwhile goal.

This is what 25 lbs of garbage looks like from a large middle school! 20171121_094958

Compare this to just lunch waste from one school without sorting.DSCN1900


White Plains MAS Students Run Recycling Program With Gusto!

We Future Cycle is so proud of White Plains MAS students. The school adopted the WFC recycling program in February of 2017 and under the energetic leadership of Assistant Principal Rob Janowitz the school transformed the way it dealt with garbage in record time, catching the hearts and souls of the students. Empowering them to be the change agent and to run the program.

We Future Cycle presented to all students the detriments of garbage and how simple changes in behavior can make a huge difference. MAS students got it immediately.

“Sorting is easy and fun”

“I help every day with the younger grades and I love it”

Within a week this school was a well oiled sorting machine. Students signed up to supervise the lunchroom stations, teachers created the classroom job of Recycling Ranger and overall garbage dropped by 98% through sorting and diversion into recycling and composting streams.

This change even caught the attention of the White Plains Board of Education. Click on the image or link below to hear the BOE member and Superintendent gushing about how proud they are of their students. It is truly heartwarming.

Report From the Trenches: Head Custodian Talks about Recycling Program

Implementing the We Future Cycle Recycling program in a new school is a lot of behind the scenes preparation work, the building has to get set up, all players need to be presented to, flow has to be created, guidelines established, responsibilities assigned and only once all that is done, we get to train the kids to actually source separate in the lunchroom and thus reducing garbage by a whopping 98%.

One of the key player in each school is the head custodian and the success of the program is tightly connected to his/her buy in.

We Future Cycle sat down to talk with Pedro Molina, head custodian at White Plains Ridgeway Elementary School, the first of the White Plains schools to join the program two years ago.

Pedro laughed when I asked him to recall. He said he did not believe me initially when I talked about a 95% reduction in waste. He worked too long in a school and has for too long carried out 15 bags of garbage every lunch.

After setting up the station in the lunchroom and living through the blur of the first day of hands on training the kids to sort, he believed me, in a breathless sort of way. We did the waste audit together, weighed each bag together and documented the incredible reduction. Pedro mentioned : “I am going to be in trouble, I have so much commingled recycling now, and no place to put it”

Pedro jumped into action, and went about teaching his staff so that the system is providing consistency and continuity. From day 2 on, breakfast, lunch and afterschool programs were sorting, an incredible accomplishment.

In the beginning there was resistance from his staff. Cleaners thought it will be more work for them, but once students learned how to sort it became easier and easier and now, instead of having to bring out 15 bags in a span of 1.5 hrs, cleaners only have to clean up at the very end of lunch.

Pedro Molina’s constant support is vital to the program and his enthusiasm and guidance is the key ingredient to keeping the students engaged. He shares that he has a large crew of student helpers every single day helping at the station.

And it didn’t stop at school, Pedro has taken the information home and is diligent about sorting at home too. Seriously WAY TO GO!

White Plains Ridgeway Students Compost All Classroom Food waste

Check out these two recycling rangers from White Plains Ridgeway Elementary School.

20170104_104701_1They are bringing the organic snack waste from their classroom to the lunchroom. There it is combined with the food waste that will  be composted. White Plains has adopted the We Future Cycle Recycling Program last year and is working hard to make its schools a waste free environment. And Ridgeway is very much on its way.

The lunchroom has reduced garbage by a whopping 95% through sorting and diversion into recycling and composting and each classroom is doing the same thing.

Students learned in We Future Cycle presentations how to reduce snack waste by choosing naturally unwrapped foods as well as using reusable containers. Each time a student was waste free he or she got a leaf to paste on the “Ridgeway Caring Tree” and the tree looks beautiful and very “leafy”.

20170104_104939Every day, students of all grades bring their organics down to the lunchroom and carefully clean their pail. Head Custodian Pedro Molina reports that there is practically nothing in the trash at the end of the day.


For White Plains Eastview Students Recycling Is The New Normal


On my regular visit to schools participating in the We Future Cycle Recycling Program, I often ask the students how they are feeling about sorting in the lunchroom. The answers today made me so proud! Here is what Eastview’s 6th graders had to say.

Diego said that sorting is not hard, it helps the Earth so much and he now does it automatically without thinking and also at home.

David brought the information home and in his house there are 3 bins now and everything gets sorted correctly, and that makes it so much cleaner.

Reid echoed that now his house also recycles, something they did not do before.

Rebecca shared that they were recycling before she learned about it in school, but now they are also composting in their yard and they are much more exact about what items can all be recycled.

Silvia also brought recycling home and it is now the new normal at home as well.

Watching 600+ students sorting carefully their lunchroom waste into excess liquid, commingled recycling and food waste for composting was so inspiring. They KNEW what to do, and they did it casually, completely naturally and without any effort at all. While chatting with their friends soft plastic was separated from the left over sandwich so each could go into the correct bin, left over milk was poured into the bucket, and the carton went into recycling.

This new normal also shows throughout the building as each classroom is set up with a paper and commingled recycling bin .

Today I audited the garbage that came from night clean, so from all the classrooms, bathrooms and offices and it was incredible! A building of 600+ students generated just 16 lbs of garbage in the building, 6 lbs from lunch and breakfast and 3 lbs from the kitchen. So a total of only 25 lbs of garbage per day, down from 296 lbs per day or an overall 92% reduction! That is way wonderful. And just think about these 600+ students bringing this news home and making it the new normal there as well.