Newton North Reinvigorates Recycling Efforts

Original post from the Green Cart Chronicle  – 

April 9, 2020

In early March, Newton DPW worked with NNHS students and faculty to improve recycling efforts throughout the school. The cafeteria now has recycling bins paired with trash bins. Uniform signage was posted above all trash and recycling bins throughout the school. Check out a student-made video, which is part of an ongoing series about improving recycling at North.

Click on the image to watch the video:

Newton North Recycling Game Show

“Sustainability Students Revitalize Recycling at North”

Original post from Newton North PTSO – 

Jan 2020

The sustainability classes taught by Ms. Anndy Dannenberg  and Ms. Kathryn Teissier are working with School Council to revitalize and promote recycling at Newton North. Changes in the international market for recycled American goods are pushing Newton citizens, including students, to reassess their current recycling habits and learn new guidelines. Read more here.

 
Students and staff do recycle at Newton North. According to Principal Henry Turner, contrary to popular belief, “Trucks take away recycling from North three to four times per week.” Unfortunately, however, student and staff recycling efforts are often thwarted by contamination, causing batches of recycled material to end up in the trash. The City of Newton is promoting proper recycling using a video starring Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and expanded information on the city’s website. Waneta Trabert, sustainable materials management director, and her waste management team at City Hall have designed materials (see below) for use throughout the schools so that students K-12 are getting a consistent message.
 
At Newton North, sustainability students are also working to promote informed recycling. “‘Wishcycling’ won’t work,” stated Ms. Dannenberg, “We have to recycle less, avoiding contamination, in order to recycle more. When in doubt, throw it out.” Added Ms. Dannenberg,
“Wishcycling is responsible for a whole lot of the contamination in the recycling stream, and can result in complete rejection of our recyclables by buyers. In too many cases, recyclable materials can’t actually be recycled because they are contaminated by either materials that need to be recycled in a different stream (e.g. plastic grocery bags, shredded paper) or can’t be recycled at all (liquids, food, prescription pill bottles).”
 
The Sustainability Club planned and hosted Sustainability Day on November 26, 2019, to educate students about the the do’s and don’ts of recycling. Guest speakers and exhibitors included the City of Newton Departments of Transportation and Waste Management, Bike Newton, Safe Routes to School, and Grad Bag, an organization that spruces up gently used dorm items for students entering college. See photos on the NNHS PTSO Facebook page.

Recycling Signage for Newton schools

Our Neighbors: “Curbside Clothes Recycling a Hit in Rhode Island”

Original post from ecoRI News – 

A new service for recycling clothes makes it easier to declutter and curtail waste headed to the landfill. Simple Recycling, based in Solon, Ohio, offers a unique curbside pickup service for unwanted clothing — and a bunch of other items that can’t go in recycling bins — while keeping fears of hoarding at bay.

Groups such as The Salvation Army and Big Brothers Big Sisters have drop-off bins and offer pickup of used clothes, but Simple Recycling makes it a bit less complicated by collecting on the same day and in the same spot on the curb as your regular recycling. Once it partners with a community, the company encourages participation by mailing colored collection bags to all residences. New bags are delivered each time full ones are collected.

The service is free and the host community receives a nominal monthly payments based on the tonnage collected. Simple Recycling started in 2014 and now operates in nine states. Nine communities in Connecticut and 37 in Massachusetts offer the service to their residents. Within the past year, four Rhode Island Island communities — Bristol, Coventry, Middletown, and North Providence — joined the service, and they all seem pleased.

“It’s working out awesome. Our residents absolutely love it,” said Jackie Anthony, recycling coordinator in Coventry.

The only glitches, so far, have been complaints from some nonprofits that fear the service will reduce their share of revenue from collecting and selling clothes. Simple Recycling, a for-profit company, says no cities or towns have curtailed the service over the concern. The company encourages residents to donate their unwanted clothes to charities. Simple Recycling says it offers the convenience of regular curbside service, especially for the elderly and people with mobility issues.

“We’re not trying to hurt anybody. It’s an option, that’s all it is,” said Robert Nascimento, recycling coordinator for North Providence.

Anthony said nonprofits that manage collection bins across town reported no change in the volume of material since the Simple Recycling service started in April.

A small number of collection bags containing clothes have been stolen from the curb in North Providence since the program began in June, but the thefts haven’t hindered the service. Residents in Middletown are pleased with the program since collection began last December, according to Will Cronin, the town’s recycling coordinator.

“Stuff is being diverted (from the waste stream) and that’s the name of the game,” Cronin said.

Like other textile recycling services and owners of drop-off boxes, Simple Recycling’s only role in the recycling process is shipping what it collects to sorting facilities. The company is compensated based on the weight of clothing it collects.

The sorting facilities, often operated by thrift stores, decide what items go to their stores, which is about 20 percent of what they receive from the collectors. The remainder is sent to textiles exporters that ship between 50 percent and 60 percent overseas. The rest is downcycled either domestically or internationally, where it is then processed into raw material for items such as carpet padding and insulation.

Sonny Wilkins, vice president of municipal relations for Simple Recycling, said municipalities receive $20 or $40 per ton based on the type of mapping employed for the collection service. The revenue paid by sorting facilities allows Simple Recycling to offer the service without a fee.

“The way we are able to do that is to liquidate as early as possible,” Wilkins said.

There is no shortage of volume. Since 1960, textile waste has increased 811 percent, and only 15 percent is recycled or donated, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The apparel industry is driving up clothing sales with the trend toward cheap, disposable, and “fast-casual” products. The industry generates pollution and requires significant amounts of energy and resources to manufacture and ship.

“Most of the world’s textile factories are in developing countries where governments can’t keep pace with the industry’s massive pollution footprint,” according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Donating unwanted clothes helps the environment, as does closing the life-cycle loop by shopping for secondhand clothes and other used goods. Repairing clothes yourself or sending them to the tailor for alterations extends their usefulness and keeps money working close to home where it helps the local economy.

“The whole purpose of the idea to keep textiles out of the landfill,” Nascimento said.

Here are some clothing waste stats:

  •  Textile mills generate one-fifth of the world’s industrial water pollution and use 20,000 chemicals, many of them carcinogenic, to make clothes, according to the NRCD.
  • Textiles account for 5.5 percent of waste in the Central Landfill in Rhode Island, according to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation.
  • 85 percent of all clothing ends up in landfills or is incinerated, according to the EPA.

by TIM FAULKNER/ecoRI News staff, 08/11/19

NPS School Recycling Policy passed

The Newton School Committee unanimously voted to pass a School Recycling Policy on May 13th. This new guideline is an important first step not only to improve recycling, but to improve management of all waste in Newton Public Schools (NPS).

While all NPS schools currently have a recycling dumpster and bins, the operations within each school are inconsistent. If available, they rely on volunteer efforts (teacher, staff, student or parent) to work with custodians to ensure recycling happens. No one is officially  responsible for recycling planning, implementation, monitoring and promotion. Efforts fall apart as recycling volunteers graduate or leave. It is an unsustainable model.

The new policy recognizes the need to reduce solid waste and waste disposal costs. In compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s waste bans, NPS will have to recycle materials that would otherwise become waste and ” all district personnel are expected to support recycling efforts throughout the schools and teachers are encouraged to include educational lessons on recycling in their curriculums.”

We agree with the School Committee that the “success in reducing waste through recycling is based on the cooperation of all the individuals in the school community.” We encourage our community to be part of this effort to build an effective recycling program. Please join us!

“Even the smallest recycling program requires cooperation among the administration, faculty, custodians, parents groups and students. Programs that are successful have garnered the support and commitment from each of these groups early in the planning process. School principals have an overarching interest and understanding of their school’s functions. Teachers have a keen understanding of student abilities and educational opportunities. Custodians are expert in their awareness of the building, the flow and composition of its wastes and possible sites to store materials. Students have fun suggestions for promotion and they are willing recyclers.”
(MassRecycle, p. 11)

The list of benefits from recycling (and better managing waste) is long and is  measurable. But the greatest benefit of all is probably the future impact of students who learn to use natural resources wisely and efficiently.

View the policy here.

Trash and Recycling Bins in Newton Schools

Please find below the number of trash and recycling bins that each Newton Public School has, according to Walk-Through Assessment done in May-July 2018 by the Newton Sustainable Materials Management office and GN School Connection volunteers.

If your school needs more bins, please contact us at [email protected], and we will help you to get them.
If you need to print signage to fix above the bins, please look at your school to see how many you will need. We can also help you figure out how to order and pay for the signage.

Angier – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 53
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 72
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Bowen – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 36
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 46
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Burr – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 40
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 1
Total Trash Bins Indoors 47
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Carr – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 36
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 48
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Countryside – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 36
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 37
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Franklin – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 44
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 45
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Horace Mann – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 36
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 42
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 4
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Lincoln-Eliot – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 56
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 1
Total Trash Bins Indoors 60
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 5

Mason-Rice – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 34
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 41
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Memorial Spaulding – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 37
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 40
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Peirce – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 30
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 26
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Underwood – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 22
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 37
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 1

Ward – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 54
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 48
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Williams – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 27
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 1
Total Trash Bins Indoors 29
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Zervas – Elementary (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 59
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 53
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Aquinas Preschool – Pre-K (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 15
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 35
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Oak Hill – Middle (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 73
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 1
Total Trash Bins Indoors 95
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 1
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Bigelow – Middle (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 54
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 60
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 3
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Charles E. Brown – Middle (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 74
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 104
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 2
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

FA Day – Middle (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 105
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 131
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Newton North – High (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 158
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 8
Total Trash Bins Indoors 186
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 13
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Newton South – High (see more information)

Total Recycling Bins Indoors 0
Total Recycling Bins Outdoors 0
Total Trash Bins Indoors 0
Total Trash Bins Outdoors 0
Total Food Waste Bins Indoors 0

Could Your School Use Recycling Signs? Download Them Here

Did you know that Newton schools do not have enough recycling bins and most of them do not have accurate signs listing what materials are recyclable?  We need volunteers from every school to fix this problem now!  Please join our efforts to ensure schools have recycling bins and signs so that the recycling is not thrown away or contaminated with trash.  Contact Green Newton School Connections at [email protected] in order to coordinate a school-wide effort.

New signage for your school is available to download here:

Office/Classroom Signage Cafeteria/Kitchen Signage

Download:

Brought to you by the Green Newton School Connections and City of Newton, Department of Public Works, Sustainable Materials Management office.