Suffolk County Executive Bellone Announces Nearly 23 Tons Of Bottles And Paper Products Recycled Through Shared Services Program
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced the initial results from the SuffolkShare School Recycling Partnership Program which began in April of this year. This first-of-its-kind program, a partnership between Suffolk County and six school districts, worked to help schools meet their New York State recycling mandate, save taxpayer dollars and teach students, faculty and the community to become stewards of the environment. To date, Suffolk County has deployed approximately 1,000 recycle bins to 12 schools, enabling nearly 6,000 students to participate in the program.
“These results are overwhelming and a testament to the students who have become our environmental ambassadors,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “I thank all of our participating school districts for working to together to help meet their recycling mandate in a manner that protects the taxpayer.”
The Weigh to Recycle component of the recycling program, offers students the opportunity to perform much of the recycling themselves and allows them to measure their results. Each week, students help empty their classroom paper bin and bring the materials to a designated area where it is weighed on an industrial scale. The students are able to keep track of the amount of paper that is recycled in the building, log the data, and at the end of the month announce the amount of paper that is recycled and the environmental benefit in quantifiable terms.
Lars Clemensen, Superintendent of Schools, Hampton Bays Union Free School District said, “The investment that the County made in the school recycling program continues to pay dividends on so many levels. Not only is there are measureable waste reduction in the region today, there is the added benefit of instilling in children the habit and commitment to recycling for tomorrow. We appreciate County Executive Bellone’s commitment to the environment and our schools.”
Kenneth R. Bossert, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools Elwood Union Free School District, said, “We are pleased with the life-long habits are students are developing in the important area of environmental awareness. This recycling pilot program has highlighted the efforts of our students and staff members of giving back to the environment. We are hopeful that the habits developed in school will be brought into homes and businesses.
Thus far, students have recycled 24,381 pounds of paper and 23,320 bottles; which equate to 12 and 11 tons, respectively. These combined efforts have resulted in saving 204 trees, 287 barrels of oil, 1,726 million BTUs, 84,000 gallons of water, 369.6 cubic yards of landfill, and preventing 720 pounds of air pollutant from being released into the environment.
Twelve schools each received two recycling bins in each classroom, office, cafeteria, and athletic field, along with scales that allowed the students to measure recycled materials and report on the environmental impact. Suffolk County has participated with six school districts and anticipates working with others in the near future as the program develops on a full scale basis. The schools participating in the initial pilot program include:
· Harley Avenue Primary School
· James Boyd Intermediate School
· Elwood Middle School
· John Glenn High School
· Twin Pines Elementary School
· Hemlock Park Elementary
· Hampton Bays Elementary
· Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School
· Unity Drive Pre-K/Kindergarten Center
· Hawkins Path Elementary
· New Lane Elementary
· Quogue Elementary Schools
The New York State Shared Services Initiative signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo allows participating municipalities and school districts to be eligible for state matching funds for savings achieved through cooperative efforts. Suffolk County is currently working on a number of programs with towns, villages and school districts through the SuffolkShare, a comprehensive 11-point plan that was approved unanimously by municipal leaders last year. Matching funds will be applied for in conjunction with the Shared Services Initiative as well as efforts to obtain recycling grants from New York State.
The Suffolk School Recycling Program is modeled on the award-winning Town of North Hempstead School Recycling Partnership Program. The initiative was launched in 2008 under then-North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman in which the Town distributed recycling bins to every single classroom and office in each of its participating 11 school districts. More than 46,000 students have participated in the program, recycling over 1,900 tons of paper and over 150 tons of electronic waste. In 2009, the Town received the NYS Environmental Excellence Award for the program.