Media Covers the School Recycling Rally and Press Conference

We had great turnout at the press conference and hearing on recycling in NYC schools yesterday. Students, teachers and parents from MS 447, PS 19, Eleanor Roosevelt High School and Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School, Brooklyn New School and PS/IS 298 attended, many of them wearing “Be cool. Recycle at school!” t-shirts. The event was covered by NY1, Elected Leaders Urge City Schools to Recycle, Elected Leaders Urge City Schools to Recycle, and Metro Paper (see below).

Much of Mr. Shear’s, Chief of Staff for the Dept. of Education’s Office of Finance and Administration, testimony does not reflect the experience of teachers inside schools. We are very disturbed by the Department of Education’s lack of understanding and attention to this important issue. Our Committee is going to get a copy of the hearing and will be responding to Mr. Shear’s testimony.

Please contact local media so we can continue to bring attention to the bill and legislation and ensure they are passed.

Also, be sure to sign our petition. As soon as we get a substantial number of signatures, we’ll present it to NYC councilmembers.

School Recycling Scores Low Grade – Metro Paper

CITY HALL. The city’s 1,400- plus public schools generate roughly 50,000 tons of garbage annually, but only 10 percent of it is recycled, according to City Council man Bill de Blasio— despite a 1989 local law requiring the recycling of 25 percent of the city’s average daily waste stream.

“We see recycling happen sometimes,” De Blasio said. “It happens when there are teachers, parents and custodians willing to go out of their way.” He said eco-conscious teachers have to rely on grants or donations for recycling bins.

He introduced a bill yesterday to require the De partment of Sanitation supply every public and private school with a sufficient number of bins and storage containers for recyclables, plus signs to encourage participation and weekly pickups.

The bill was “not necessary,” DSNY’s Robert Lange said at a Council hearing yesterday. His department already provides such services and has been working with schools for 19 years on implementing recycling, such as by giving schools decals to label any receptacle for  recycling, he said. “Whether a school successfully recycles is ultimately the responsibility of the school community.”

Who holds schools accountable? That would be a school’s “recycling coordinator,” who develops an annual school recycling plan, coordinates with the principal and custodian and reports whether the school is meeting its targets, said Jeffrey  Shear, of the Department of Education.

Only 372 schools have such a position.  “The level of recycling is undisputedly higher at these schools,” Shear said,  adding that this summer, the DOE plans to do outreach to ensure schools have a designated recycling coordinator. “We have more work to do,” Shear said.

AMY ZIMMER, amy.zimmer@metro.us

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