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Ward School Leads Recycling Revolution

UPDATE: Trinity and Jefferson elementary schools are also participating in the recycling program.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Fourth-grader Eva Winston rose from her seat in the William B. Ward Elementary School cafeteria Tuesday afternoon to place items from her plastic foam tray into marked bags as part of the school's lunchroom recycling program. Soon she'll be able to recycle the tray too. "It really helps the earth by sorting them so they can be recycled," said Winston. The simple act of recycling has decreased Ward's overall garbage output to just two bags per lunch, down considerably from 22 bags before the program began last year. Winston and her fellow Ward students will soon be able to recycle their plastic foam trays, thanks to the successful efforts of Anna Giordano, a Ward PTA member and parent and the main organizer of the recycling effort. Giordano negotiated a deal this week with a single-use food container company, DART , which encourages recycling of the plastic foam food containers it sells to collect the 5,000 trays the school district uses, at no cost to the city or the schools. This will make the City School District of New Rochelle the first in Westchester County to recycle plastic foam trays, and one of the first in the country, according to Giordano. Sarah Fuller, who supervises the cafeteria during lunchtime, welcomed the addition of plastic foam trays to the multiple categories of recycling that must be sorted. "If it's a good thing we are just going to keep at it," said Fuller. "The kids are getting the hang of it." Ward students have adjusted well to the process of sorting their trash into multiple bins for items such as landfill trash, food wrappers, soft plastics and liquids, during lunchtime at school, Giordano said. "It's not a problem," Giordano said. "They really want to." Ward's success led three other city schools in the city's district to jump on board the program, after Giordano presented the program to them at the end of last school year, including Albert Leonard Middle School , Barnard Early Childhood Center , and New Rochelle High School . Others also plan to follow suit.

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