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WESS is one of 100 schools that was selected by the Department of Education, the Department of Sanitation, and GrowNYC Recycling Champions to be part of a pilot program to divert* all recyclable and compostable waste from these 100 Zero Waste Schools in five years, starting in 2016. The hope is that the experiences of the Zero Waste Schools will ultimately serve as a model for all schools citywide and lead to the creation of best practices for adhering to Zero Waste goals.

(*According to Kathleen Corradi, the Zero Waste Manager at the Department of Education, Division of School Facilities, “divert” in this case means “channel away from landfill disposal.” For food scraps/organic waste, diversion translates to materials ending up in a composting facility. For recyclable items, diversion translates to materials ending up in a material recycling facility.”)

The goal is Zero Waste (trash) to landfills where it decomposes sending methane, carbon dioxide and toxins into our air, soil and water.

How do we achieve Zero Waste? By limiting the materials we use. Reduce use when we can, and reuse, recycle and repair the rest.

For WESS students, many Zero Waste practices are already integrated into their school day, especially in the cafeteria, where there are numerous, clearly-labeled composting and recycling bins.

How can you support your WESS students OUTSIDE of school and be an active Zero Waste advocate on your own?

It’s easy! Here are some suggestions:

  • If your student takes lunch to school, encourage her/him to use reusable containers, pouches and utensils.
  • Always carry a reusable water bottle.
  • Always have a reusable bag in your purse or pocket. These days, you can find many small options.
  • Use cloth instead of paper napkins at home. Each member of the family can have her/his own color and pattern!
  • Buy things in bulk (or at least the largest size available) rather than in small, individual, disposable (but not necessarily recyclable) containers.
  • Don’t buy what you don’t need, especially food.
  • If you can’t use something that’s in good condition, donate it!
  • Don’t let the water run when brushing your teeth.
  • Turn off lights when you leave a room.

Zero Waste, Recycling, and Composting links (updated frequently, so check back here!):

Recycling is THE LAW in New York City.