When Irvington Union Free School District students return to school in the fall, they will have a renewed sense of commitment and deeper responsibility to care for their environment, thanks to an expanded district wide recycling and waste reduction program.
“This is a simple, inexpensive program that the Irvington schools have embraced partly to improve recycling rates, but even more importantly, to encourage further student involvement and education about the benefits of waste reduction, composting, the economics of recycling and environmental issues in general,” said Jessica Munzel, a parent volunteer who is supporting the District’s efforts. “A program like this highlights that even our small, day-to-day decisions can have a big impact, especially when we work together as a community.”
The program, which was first launched at Main Street School (MSS) as a pilot, has already been highly successful at the school. During the first year of the waste reduction program, the students, who have been working with their principal Joyce Chapnick, community members and school members, successfully accomplished their goal of reducing waste by 10-20 percent in their classrooms, hallways and cafeteria. In each classroom, hallway and office, there are three recycling bins – one for paper recycling, one for commingled recycling and another one for trash. Meanwhile, there are four bins in the cafeteria: liquid, commingled, trash and compost.
As a way to introduce the expanded program and encourage greater student participation, rising fourth- and fifth-graders at MSS will be educated about waste reduction through assemblies and lunchtime presentations. At Dows Lane, parent volunteers will give in-class presentations to all the children during the second week of school and help them properly sort items during lunchtime in the cafeteria during the first two weeks. At the middle and high schools, students and faculty will also be educated about the program and will be encouraged to further get involved in the efforts throughout the year.