Rockland Solid Waste sees progress in school recycle program

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BY KATELYN CORDERO

The kids at Elmwood Elementary formed a line one by one handing in their garbage to be sorted and recycled at their mobile draining and sorting station. The station is part of the recycle program headed by the Rockland County Solid Waste Authority (RCSWA).

Since the program started in 2017 seven schools have been added to the list of participants, creating a green team of children and staff at each school who run the program, which has reduced the amount of waste from 70 to 90 percent at each school. At Elmwood, the recipient of the “most improved” award, Principal Ellen Andriello saw a reduction from seven garbage bags of waste each day to one.

Andriello worked with Hospitality Green the company contracted by RCSWA to train the students and staff at each school. “Hospitality Green worked with the students to show them the procedure,” Andriello said. “The teachers have incorporated the program into their science lessons. We want the students to feel the difference they are making.”

The face of the program are two representatives from Hospitality Green, Evadne Giannini and Jonathan Schultz. They work with the schools to create a green team of teachers and students giving them the tools to run the program on their own.

Giannini holds assemblies with the students to educate them on the process of recycling and how to save the environment. She then meets with the schools weekly to ensure everything is running smooth.

Students at Haverstraw Elementary School smiled and clapped proudly as Giannini presented them with the “school of the year” award for their work in the recycling program.

“This is about changing the attitude,” Executive Director of RCSWA Anna Roppolo said. “It’s more than a waste reduction program, it gives students leadership and a sense of pride.”

The students are eager to take part in the initiative, putting on their rubber gloves and sorting through the lunches of their classmate. Monia Fate, 9, one of Elmwood Elementary’s green team, took off her gloves and stepped out of the cafeteria to describe her work with the program.

“I’ve been doing the juicing, stacking and collecting the bottle containers,” said Fate. “We are helping mother earth by recycling, and I think that it should continue to more schools.”