3R’s

Subcommittee leader: Robin Snyder-Drummond 
Contact Information: melroserecyclingcommittee@gmail.com

The 3R’s Subcommittee’s goal is to develop initiatives around reducing, reusing, and recycling materials, and information to Melrose residents that will help them improve their recycling practices.

Blog posts:

Waste Reduction in the Kitchen

Resources:

EPA – Environmental Benefits of Composting

EPA Food Recovery Challenge

International Compost Week

Vermicompost: A Living Soil Amendment – Cornell University research page – learn the science behind worm composting!

Home Composting

Food Waste Statistics and Reduction Tips

Roosevelt Recycles: Steps & Lessons Learned

The following is a summary of the steps taken by the Roosevelt Elementary School’s PTO Green Team, beginning in January 2015, to establish an extensive recycling program at the school. Today, thanks to these efforts, materials recycled at the Roosevelt encompass not only the wastes accepted curbside by the City of Melrose but also food wastes and other materials that aren’t collected curbside and that thus present a challenge for more responsible disposal. The recycling practices established at the school, along with other “green” practices in such areas as energy conservation, earned the school an “Eco-School” certification in 2015 under a program administered by the National Wildlife Federation, and the program presents a model that the Roosevelt PTO Green Team, the City of Melrose, and the Melrose Recycling Committee believe can be replicated in the city’s other schools.

 January 2015:

  1. Began working with the custodians to increase recycling of city-accepted curbside materials at the school.
  2. Put recycling bins out in the cafeteria during lunch.
  3. E-mailed teachers encouraging them to talk to their students about improving their recycling in the classrooms.

image001February 2015:

  • Introduced TerraCycle Recycling (www.terracycle.com), a private company that recycles hard-to-recycle waste—i.e., wastes not handled by the city curbside program.
  1. Signed up for the following “brigades” (i.e., programs for collection and recycling of specific categories of materials): juice pouches, fruit/yogurt squeezes, Little Bites bags, cell phones and tape dispensers and cores.
  2. Went in to each classroom to introduce the TerraCycle program: classes collect the pouches, squeezes and Little Bites bags in a bin in their classroom and then sort the items in bins in the cafeteria.
  3. Cell phones, tape dispensers and cores are dropped off by parents in the main office.
  4. Brigades are sent to TerraCycle once 5 lbs are collected; the school receives $0.02 per item sent in.
  • Also began collecting plastic baggies in the classrooms and the cafeteria; bags are dropped off at Shaw’s or Stop & Shop.
  • Began collecting used Styrofoam trays in the cafeteria; students collect “clean” (minimal food on them) trays; they are brought to Lifoam Industries once a month from September through December and April through June to be recycled by ReFoamIt; from January through March, the trays are collected and brought to the Melrose Styrofoam recycling event at the City Yard in March.
  • Use SignUpGenius to allow parents to volunteer in the cafeteria to help the students sort their waste.

April/May 2015:

  • Bought a compost bin through the City of Melrose sale using funds from Mass Ag in the Classroom grant.
  • Began collecting food waste in the cafeteria: raw fruits and vegetables only.
  • Food waste along with leaves and garden clippings are put into the compost bin.

December 2015:

  • Compost bin is full.
  • Asked DPW to pay for compost pickup through Bootstrap Compost (www.bootstrapcompost.com), but budget constraints prevented this option.
  • Asked Whole Foods if we can bring our food waste there and they agreed; compost is brought there Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  • Will have a garden cleanup day in May; will hopefully be able to use compost in the bin to put in our school garden.
  • Once compost is removed from the bin cafeteria waste will once again be put into the bin.

image002Other recycling:

  • Collect broken/unwanted crayons in the Art room and send them to Crazy Crayons (www.crazycrayons.com).
  • Collect dried-up Crayola markers also in the Art room and send them to Crayola (http://www.crayola.com/colorcycle.aspx).
  • Collect used printer ink cartridges in the main office, bring them to Staples for recycling.

Lessons Learned:

  • Both Principal Mary Beth Maranto and Ann Waitt, Assistant Director of DPW, have provided input and support for increasing recycling at Roosevelt.
  • Roosevelt teachers have different levels of support and involvement in our efforts.
  • Getting the students involved is a key to success; they need to check each other in their classrooms to be sure items are being put in the correct bins.
  • Rather than teachers reminding students about recycling procedures in individual classrooms, we have found it is easier and more effective to remind the students during lunch in the cafeteria.
  • It was extremely helpful (necessary?) to have a parent volunteer in the cafeteria to assist the custodian during lunch when these programs were introduced. However, it is difficult to continue to keep parents interested in volunteering.

 

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