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Norwalk schools finally move toward recycling

NORWALK, Conn. – A long awaited experiment will commence this fall as Norwalk Public Schools finally attempt to get on the recycling bandwagon.

This is being organized by the Mayor’s Energy and Environment Task Force. “We are in the experimental stage and nothing is locked in stone yet but conversations have started. Everyone is in agreement that our schools are not recycling to their full potential and things need to change,” said Councilman John Kydes (D-District C), task force chairman.

A meeting was held Wednesday to discuss the arrangements for the pilot program. Kydes laid them out in an email:

• This is a collaboration between City Carting, the Board of Education and the Department of Public Works City Carting will be devote a truck for school recycling. “This will allow us to now know how much recycling the schools are producing,” Kydes said.
• NPS purchasing agent George Giannitti will work with the custodial staff to increase school recycling.
• The schools will be doing single stream recycling, eliminating the need to separate recyclables and freeing up the custodial staff for other things.
• There will be incentives: Accreditation and financial reward from private sponsors (field trips, etc.) for the top three schools with the highest percentage of recycling in a school year. City Carting has offered to help as sponsor for the awards, which will be presented by Mayor Harry Rilling and Superintendent Manny Rivera.
• Principals will appoint a point person at their schools for the recycling program.
• There will be savings from using less garbage bag liners and fewer garbage pick-ups.

This will eventually mean financial reimbursement to the BOE for the money earned from the recycling materials, Kydes said.

DPW Director Hal Alvord has been skeptical in the past about pulling off recycling in the schools, saying that all the school administrators need to be onboard. But, he said, it’s possible it could save significant money.

“I think there is a lot of potential there,” Alvord said. “Last year I wanted to find out what is actually going on at the schools, recycling-wise. We do, I want to say, about 6,000 tons a year in recycling in Norwalk. We had less than a ton come in from the schools over the period of a week.”

Comments

14 responses to “Norwalk schools finally move toward recycling”

  1. anon

    Well thought out.

  2. One and Done

    When and if AFSCME ever looks in the mirror and asks the tough questions of itself, this here should be a glaring example. The rest of the city has been recycling for 25 years now and they are just getting with the program and only because of outside forces. This value added activity could have been their stroke of genius, but instead we see it was always about their pensions and nothing else.

  3. EveT

    How many years has school recycling been discussed and delayed? Let’s hope this does get implemented now, instead of another case of “Oh, we need more time…”
    Next, can the schools switch from styrofoam to any of the better, less wasteful materials available nowadays?

  4. Eve, good point – rhetoric until now, but this is a serious effort. Of course, this will be an obligation of our private contractor at Columbus and Jefferson schools. For the remainder using our union custodians, we have retained a neew supply company that will also observe, train and check status on all custodial duties, including recycling: https://www.nancyonnorwalk.com/2014/06/norwalk-public-schools-looking-to-clean-up-their-act.

  5. Bruce Kimmel

    Very good move, and I will again use the word, “finally.” This no-brainer should have been implemented years ago, but for whatever reasons, the school system couldn’t get its act together. Single stream recycling in our schools will save the city money, help the environment and provide opportunities for students to learn a whole lot about what happens to trash — the history of it, and the environmental issues associated with it.

  6. Mike Mushak

    Bravo!

  7. Bill

    About dang time

  8. Tim D

    @Bruce Kimmel – Thumbs up, good points

  9. John Levin

    Progress. Sort of astonishing this was not in place many years ago. What were the obstacles, and how were they overcome? Was it just Hal Alvord’s skepticism? Was it intransigence on the part of Local 1042? I guess it doesn’t matter now.

  10. Don’t Panic

    I don’t think individual schools should be awarded prizes (incentives) for having high recycling volumes. First, kids should be motivated by the fact that it is the right thing to do, not by prizes. Second, this could be unfairly tilted towards schools with more students and/or more money to spend on disposable items. Third, the best recycling efforts are ones that don’t produce trash in the first place (ie the kid who brings their drinks in a thermos instead of a soda can or plastic water bottle). Pure volume as measure of success may actually be rewarding the wrong behavior.

  11. Kathleen Montgomery

    Excellent points, Don’t Panic. Extrinsic rewards are not long-lasting at all. Besides, kids will do it because it’s the right thing to do…a much bigger and lasting “incentive”.

  12. Missy Conrad

    As a member of the League of Women Voters Environment Committee since 1972, I have worked for recycling in the schools, but have always been told to “wait” for someone who would be in charge or for someone to get back to us- Was it because I am a volunteer & a Woman?

  13. Missy Conrad

    Okay, I admit I am not persistent enough-

  14. Don’t Panic

    Thanks Kathleen. 🙂

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