Westchester's recycling law requires schools, like any other business or institution, to meet recycling standards.
Recycling resources: labels, guides, audits, and other materials
When placed on containers such as a cardboard box, a plastic pail or a large hamper, labels can distinguish any container as a receptacle for recyclables. Make your bin labels, using our templates. Try laminating them for the best results. They are available in for paper bins and commingled (glass, plastic and metal) bins.
You can also spread the word about recycling in Westchester by sending information home with students. The Curbside Recycling Guide, available in English and Spanish, provides all the do's and don'ts of recycling in the county.
Take the school self-audit to assess your recycling program and make sure you are recycling all that you can.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has developed resources for teachers to use with students, including a handbook, called the "Waste Reduction, Reuse, Recycling, Composting & Buy Recycled Resource Book" for schools to use.
If you are planning a class trip, consider scheduling a free educational tour of the Westchester County Material Recovery Facility (MRF) in Yonkers. Tours are fun, educational, free of charge and suitable for students of all ages.
A recently installed Recycled Material Art Gallery, features local artists’ pieces on recycling, conservation, and the environment. A range of mediums consisting of old materials upcycled to make new ones has a clear message: we are all in this together. Everyone in the County can and should recycle and the Materials Recovery Facility is a perfect place to go and see how the process is done! Request a tour online or send an e-mail to .
Want to bring your students on an educational yet enjoyable field trip? Find a nature center near you in Westchester County!
Help fight hunger while also helping the environment. Rock and Wrap It Up! is an anti-poverty think tank. Using greening tactics, Rock and Wrap It Up! recovers food and other assets to agencies fighting poverty. Furthermore, they have developed comprehensive lesson plans, which are ideal for local educators wanting to teach the value of reducing food waste while helping others. Also available is their Whole Earth Calculator Web-based App, which calculates meals recovered and avoided greenhouse gas emissions related to food recovery and makes the results easily “shareable” on social media.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation provides environmental lesson plans for kids of all ages. All the green teaching tools you need are at the click of the mouse.
The Hudson River is an essential aspect of New York State. Luckily, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has lesson plans and activities geared to get students involved and understand the majestic river that Henry Hudson sailed all those years ago.
Get your students to participate in the New York Recycles! poster contest. The contest is open to grades K through 12 of public and private schools throughout New York. Poster submission deadline is in May. Winners are selected from Westchester schools every year and it’s a perfect way for kids to express their thoughts and feelings on the importance of recycling through artwork.
Keep America Beautiful is hosting "Recycle-Bowl”, the first comprehensive nationwide recycling competition for elementary, middle and high-school students. Recycle-Bowl is designed to provide students with a fun, interactive way to learn about waste reduction and environmental responsibility through in-school recycling.
For colleges and universities, check out the RecycleMania competition. RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.
Apply for the Green Schools Grant through the NYS Association for Reduction, Reuse & Recycling (NYSAR3) for funding toward school recycling and waste reduction programs. New York acknowledges the need for these programs throughout the state, and especially in our school systems. Applications for the next round of funding are due Oct. 2014.
Grants for environmental protection and improvement are available for municipalities, community organizations, not-for-profit organizations and others from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. If you would like to learn more information about grants, or would like to apply for one, please visit the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation’s Web site.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Education Model Grants Program provides funds to support environmental education projects that increase the public's awareness about environmental issues and provide them with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. For more information and to learn how to apply for the competitive Environmental Education grant, please visit the EPA’s Web site.
Want to keep your junior recycling officials engaged? Check out the EPA's Web site for fun activities. They even have a waste reduction coloring pamphlet to help make reducing waste fun and interactive!
During the autumn season, leaf debris is bound to become a nuisance. You can reduce waste by composting fallen leaves, branches and other woody material and organic wastes. The benefits of composting fall leaves, rather than putting them out for collection, include improving the health of your lawn and gardens as well as cost savings to your community. Various initiatives, such as the Love 'Em and Leave 'Em program and the ‘Leave Leaves Alone’ campaign, encourages homeowners, landscapers, schools, and institutions to mulch their fall leaves and grass clippings on-site.
Check out local charities such as Goodwill, Furniture Sharehouse, or the Salvation Army to find or donate used but usable items needed for your classroom. Not only will you be saving money but reusing something that might have been thrown away.
Help fight hunger while also helping the environment. Rock and Wrap It Up!'s Snack Wrap! encourages elementary school students to donate their unopened sealed manufactured packaged snacks to children in after school programs, shelters and pantries. Middle and High School students are encouraged to participate in non-perishable drives and the recovery of perishable food from their school cafeterias that have been prepared and not sold or served.
Don’t forget to tell your class about Westchester County’s Annual Earth Day celebration this spring! For additional information, including the date, time, and location please visit the Recycling Office’s Web site, Facebook Page, or call the Westchester County Recycling HelpLine at (914) 813-5425. This event is traditionally held in April or May each year. A fun, free event for all ages!
Does your school have papers to shred and recycle? Make an appointment to have Westchester’s Mobile Paper Shredder stop at your school. If you would like to schedule the Mobile Shredder for your school, e-mail .
The BioBus is a high-tech laboratory on wheels, which boasts an array of advanced scientific equipment and brings hands-on science education to communities that have limited access to such opportunities. In 2013, County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced that the Westchester County Youth Bureau has partnered with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to bring the "BioBus" to hundreds of students countywide, in an ongoing effort to promote STEM education in Westchester.