Frequently Asked Questions

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Click On a Question Below to See the Answer

    • I'm interested in being my school's sustainability coordinator. How can I sign up?

      In September of every year, the principal designates the coordinator through an online form. Just talk with your principal about being designated.
    • What is the sustainability coordinator responsible for?

      The coordinator is responsible for completing and implementing the school's Sustainability Plan, reviewing and reporting to the principal on recycling practices at the school, and serving as the conduit for sustainable initiatives in school buildings. Sustainability coordinators also complete and submit an annual survey in June. Ultimately, the sustainability coordinator consults with representatives from all sectors of the school, including principal(s), food services, administrative and facilities staff, parents, and students in developing and implementing the sustainability initiatives at the school.
    • My principal signed me up as the sustainability coordinator. Now what do I do? 

      Submit your annual sustainability plan. The plan is due every October. Then get trained! The Office of Sustainability offers basic and advanced trainings throughout the year.
    • Can there be trainings for Principals?

      Principals are welcome at the annual sustainability initiative trainings. The trainings have been opened up to anyone on the school's green team.
    • Do Sustainability Coordinators get a prep or free period?

      Only 60% of our sustainability coordinators are teachers, so a prep or free period was not negotiated at the district level. A free period must be negotiated on an individual basis with your principal.
    • Who buys the bins for recycling?

      We suggest performing a bin audit in your school. Most schools can repurpose existing bins with free DSNY labels. Custodians can also purchase recycling bins through existing maintenance supply contracts. We also encourage the school's PTA to fundraise or solicit donations.
    • Where can we get the cardboard recycling bins that were given out a few years ago?

      The bins were provided as part of a one-time donation to the DOE and we gave out all the bins we had. We did work with DSF to make the bins available through the custodian's SDI catalog for purchase starting July 1, 2014. We also suggest repurposing cardboard boxes already in the school and letting the kids decorate them.
    • The children are sorting the waste, but the custodial/cleaning staff empties recycling bins and garbage bins together in the same bag. What can we do about this?

      According to Local Law 41 and Chancellor's Regulation A-850, all schools must recycle and place the recycling in seperate piles at the curb. First have a discussion with the custodian to see if there is something he/she needs to keep the recycling separate (such as equipment or staff training). Next, reach out to your principal or deputy director of facilities.
    • Can schools paint or outline sections of the sidewalk for trash and recycling?

      Yes. Consult with your custodian.
    • My school would like to be part of the Organics Collection program. How can we sign up?

      Because DSNY must change the way the waste is collected on a daily basis, participation in the program is determined by the truck routes that DSNY chooses to change and the DOE identifies schools on that route. We fully expect the program to go citywide over time.
    • How can I get access to my school's energy data?

      We are rolling out a new energy dashboard in the Fall of 2014 so that all schools have access to their building's energy data. More information coming soon!
    • I've looked at our energy data but it shows the whole building and there are 2 other schools. Can I get access to data for just our floors?

      No. The DOE tracks energy at the building level through the utility company's meters, so if your school building with other schools, the only data we can give you is at the building level.
    • I see an interesting program from a partner on your website. How can I sign up for their program?

      Just reach out to the partner through their website. You do not have to go through the Office of Sustainability to receive services from one of our non-profit partners.