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News and Speeches

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty and the City’s Sustainability Director David Bragdon Unveil a Converted Trailer that Teaches Students About Recycling


The trailer, converted to a “recyclarium,” is equipped with interactive activities and will visit schools throughout the upcoming school year

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty and the City’s Sustainability Director David Bragdon today unveiled a trailer converted to a mobile education center that offers interactive games for students to learn about the importance of recycling. It was unveiled at PS 63 in Manhattan where students recently launched a composting pilot to reduce waste. The trailer, known as the “recyclarium,” also functions as a quasi-research and development facility to test exhibits and games. The trailer is part of the City’s effort to conserve natural resources and is part of the Mayor’s PlaNYC target of reducing carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2017. The trailer was funded by the Sanitation Department and designed by Sims Municipal Recycling, a City contractor to pick up curbside metal, glass and plastic recyclables.

“Many of our principals, teachers and students are helping to preserve our natural resources and reduce the carbon footprint for future generations,” said Schools Chancellor Walcott. “I want to congratulate students, the administration and faculty at PS 63 who piloted a composting program in May and June and were able to reduce waste by 85 percent in just two months. I hope this encourages more schools to recycle. In addition, thanks to the Sanitation Department and Sims, we have a new educational tool, a converted trailer, that will travel to schools during the school year to help teach students about recycling.”

Chancellor Walcott, Commissioner Doherty and Director Bragdon were joined at the press conference by City Council Education Chair Robert Jackson, Councilman Brad Lander, Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, DOE Division of Facilities CEO John Shea, Ron Gonen, Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation, Recycling and Sustainability; and Bob Kelman, President of Sims Metal Management which owns and operates Sims Municipal Recycling.

Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty said, “Educating and encouraging all New Yorkers to reduce the amount of solid waste they produce is a key component of Mayor Bloomberg’s comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan.  As we move steadily forward in implementing all elements of this landmark 20-year environmental strategy, we welcome innovative opportunities, such as this fantastic ‘recyclarium’ created by Sims Municipal Recycling, which will teach our youngsters how to become super-recyclers.”

“Engaging the next generation of New Yorkers in waste reduction efforts now will increase our recycling rates for years to come, avoiding the financial and environmental costs of sending so much solid waste to landfills,” said David Bragdon, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. “Thanks to Sims, the Sanitation Department, and the teachers, we are instilling lifelong habits in these students.”

The “recyclarium” includes wheels to turn and doors to open that help teach students what recyclables are made of, how they are processed and how they can be used. For example, the “Take-Back/Donate” section of the trailer directs students to open doors that lead to information which explains what items can’t be recycled at curbside, such as electronics. However, they can be reused or recycled if they are brought to a designated location. The trailer is able to accommodate 10 to 15 children inside at a time, and it's designed to take about 20 to 30 minutes to explore. The trailer represents the combined services provided by the Sims Metal Management Limited family of companies, which includes Sims Metal Management and Sims Municipal Recycling, the processor of New York City’s curbside metal, glass and plastic recyclables. Together these companies recycle everything from automobiles and bridges to bottles and smartphones.

“In this unique learning experience, everything has its place, and New York City schoolchildren will learn that you can recycle many items from an airplane to a plastic bottle,” said Bob Kelman, President of Sims Metal Management – North America Metals. “Before you throw it away, we need to ask ourselves, ‘can this be reused or recycled into something new again?’ We believe it starts with educating the City’s residents, but most importantly it starts with the young people, the next generation of New Yorkers. That is why we built the Recyclarium and why we’re building an education center at our new Brooklyn recycling facility.”
 “Recycling is a top priority for the DOE, and our Office of Sustainability has made great strides in engaging students, staff and the entire school community to reduce waste,” said Deputy Chancellor for Operations Kathleen Grimm said. “We have trained more than 500 sustainability coordinators in our schools.”

“Schools are positioned to make a big difference in helping New York City to meet its solid waste management goals,” School Facilities CEO Shea said. “Our Sustainability Office has worked with many schools to find-tune their recycling efforts.”

“Our students, teachers and parents are very conscious about saving the environment and have worked hard in creating a school culture that is mindful of energy conservation and recycling,” PS 63 Principal Despeignes said. “We have piloted a composting program and plan to expand this school-wide so that all students are involved.” PS 63 launched a composting program in May called “flip-tap-stack” where students would dump remaining lunch food in a compost bin and then stack their paper lunch trays. This program produced eight less bags of waste every day. PS 63 and PS 363, which shares space in the same building, will be expanding the program this coming year.

“A greener and more environmentally friendly New York, is a better New York for all,” said Council Member Robert Jackson, chair of the Education Committee. “The partnership between the DOE and Sanitation, to help reduce waste in schools, will encourage and teach our children the importance of recycling and living a more sustainable lifestyle. The trailer converted by the Sims Municipal Recycling will engage our students by means of interactive games and activities that will provide them with lifelong lessons on how to reduce the carbon footprint.  It is a win-win situation for all.”

“For years my office has collaborated on free electronic waste recycling programs with Sims and local neighborhood partners such as Upper West Side Recycling, the Lower East Side Ecology Center and Per Scholas,” Council Member Gale Brewer said. “Undoubtedly, the overwhelming success of these events is a direct result of community engagement and support. In addition, as evident in the D3 Green Schools Committee recent composting and recycling pilot, when young people are engaged on how to make their schools and home environments more green, all New Yorkers benefit. We should be proud that New York is a recycling leader, and I look forward to seeing the Recyclarium on the west side of Manhattan.”

“It's essential that we teach our children the importance of recycling,” Council Member Brad Lander said. “Reducing waste and reducing energy use are environmental necessities, both for our city and planet.”