Nearly 6,000 Students to Participate in Initial Phase of Program; Suffolk County to Deploy Approximately 1,000 Recycle Bins to 11 Schools.
Suffolk County, NY - April 19, 2018 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today launched the first of its kind Suffolk School Recycling Program, a partnership between Suffolk County and six school districts that will help schools meet their New York State recycling mandate, save taxpayer dollars and teach students, faculty and the community to become stewards of the environment. Suffolk County will deploy approximately 1,000 recycle bins to 11 schools, enabling nearly 6,000 students to participate in the program.
“The School Recycling Pilot Program is the latest innovation for how municipalities can work together to reduce their carbon footprint,” said County Executive Bellone. “I want to thank our school district superintendents and Winter Brothers for their willingness to participate in this groundbreaking program and bring these best practices into the classroom.”
Under the program, schools will be able to reduce the frequency of trash pickup and dumpster volume while diverting more recyclables from entering into the trash. With the potential of thousands of students learning the importance of recycling and engaging in the process themselves, this will prevent vast amounts of paper and plastic that are generated from schools from ending up in waste streams. Based on its own analysis, Suffolk County will initially tap into 5,798 students with the launch of the pilot program, utilizing them as a resource to recycle in the classroom.
Suffolk County anticipates working with more school districts in the near future to rollout the recycling program on a full scale. Those who participate will be required to sign an inter-municipal agreement that clarifies the respective roles and responsibilities of the various municipal partners. The initial school districts participating in the pilot include:
Each school will receive two recycling bins in each classroom, office, cafeteria, and athletic field, along with scales that will allow the students to measure recycled materials and report on environmental impact.
Elementary and Middle Schools
Every classroom, shared space and office will receive two recycling bins with specialized lids, with one for paper and one for comingles such as empty plastic, glass and aluminum. Each building will be supplied with one industrial scale to participation the “Weigh to Recycle Program and measure the results of their success.
Every classroom, shared space and office will receive on recycle bin with a specialized lid for all mixed recyclables including paper, plastic, glass and aluminum.
The custodial staff of each building will receive 50 gallon rolling bins to collect the recyclables. Each cafeteria will receive a recycling center, outdoor bins will be supplied for athletic fields, and an additional dumpster will be supplied for each school by the carter.
School Recycling Manual
Suffolk County will provide participating school districts with a School Recycling Manual, which will serve as a guide for the schools in understanding the various aspects of the program including the process of recycling, the program implementation, items that are considered recyclable and non-recyclable, program supplies and many more. The manual will contain a voluntary curriculum of educational components that are related to real-life application, including math, science and civics lessons.
The program also includes a Weigh to Recycle component that offers students the opportunity to perform much of the recycling themselves and allow them to measure their results. Each week, students will be encouraged to help empty their classroom paper bin and bring the materials to a designated area where it can be weighed on an industrial scale. The students will be able to keep track of the amount of paper that is recycled in the building, log the data, and at the end of the month announce the amount of paper that was recycled and the environmental benefit in quantifiable terms.
The New York State Shared Services Initiative signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo allows participating municipalities and school districts to be eligible for state matching funds for savings achieved through cooperative efforts. Suffolk County is currently working on a number of programs with towns, villages and school districts in a plan that was approved unanimously by municipal leaders last year. Matching funds will be applied for in conjunction with the Shared Services Initiative as well as efforts to obtain recycling grants from New York State.
The Suffolk School Recycling Program is modeled off of the award-winning Town of North Hempstead School Recycling Partnership Program. The initiative was launched in 2008 under then-North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, in which the Town distributed recycling bins to every single classroom and office in each of its participating 11 school districts. To date, more than 46,000 students have participated in the program. The Town was the recipient of the New York State Environmental Excellence Award in 2009 in recognition of the program’s success.
Lars Clemensen, Superintendent Hampton Bays School District, said: “The Suffolk County School Recycling Pilot is a win for us on a number of levels. In the most practical sense, we are recycling and positively contributing to our environment. In another, we are empowering our students to be the leaders and learners; it will be them who change societal behaviors in a positive way. And finally, a shared service between local governments like schools and the county, help benefit taxpayers and improve service and efficiency. We are proud to participate and thank the County Executive for his leadership in this area.”
Dr. Roberta Gerold, Superintendent Middle Country School District, said: “Middle Country’s elementary school students, including our kindergarteners, are thrilled to be a part of the Suffolk County School Recycling Pilot Program. They are researchers in training…and will discover, through active participation in the collection and weighing of recyclables, analysis of materials and debate on the value of recycling, how to be proactive, productive, environmentally sensitive consumers. We thank the County for allowing our students this most wonderful opportunity!”
Dr. Kenneth Bossert Superintendent Elwood School District, said: “This program will give students the opportunity to develop sound practices that demonstrate the importance of respecting our environment. We are hopeful that these positive habits become lifelong practices to benefit our community for generations to come.”
Dr. Ron Masera, Superintendent Remsenburg-Speonk School District, said: “The Remsenburg-Speonk UFSD is excited to partner with Suffolk County in the School Recycling Program. Our District places a priority on educating students, not just in the academic areas, but as contributing members of a global society. The recycling program supports a cleaner environment, reinforces our mission of promoting social responsibility, and enables our students to participate in hands-on activities that will enhance our curriculum and make the learning highly relevant for our students.”
Fran Reid, Recycling & Sustainability Consultant, said: “Many thanks to County Executive Steve Bellone, participating school districts & Winter Brothers. By implementing a School Recycling Partnership Program in our schools we are teaching a life lesson to our community. Students who recycle in their classrooms will become lifelong recyclers, bring this learning home and encourage family members and friends to recycle.”
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said: “Schools must be engaged in recycling to help Long Island ward off a pending solid waste management crisis. Long Island must do better with regards to recycling and we can achieve greater recycling success with important programs like this one. Kudos to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for getting this started. We hope this program succeeds and grows.”