By Steven Goodstein
An elementary school in Little Neck has a big heart for recycling.
The North Hills School — also known as PS 221 — was recently named as the winning elementary school recipient of GrowNYC’s Recycling Champions Program’s Super Recyclers Contest by the city Department of Sanitation.
PS 221, located at 5740 Marathon Parkway, won the award by assembling proper recycling stations in every classroom, office and common area as well as the cafeteria. They also recycled over 3,000 juice pouches, 2,200 Little Bites pouches and 800 oral care products while partnering up with recycling company TerraCycle.
Students and teachers documented their progress by regularly posting information and photos on social media and recording short videos of their work, whether they were recycling paper, cardboard, plastic or metal. They also practiced organic recycling, up-cycling, repurposing containers and placed compost pails in each classroom.
“This is an example of having faith in the next generation to improve the current existing conditions of pollution – and we acknowledge the hard work that students put in to accomplish this goal,” said Jennifer Ugolino, director of GrowNYC’s Recycling Champions Program. “It’s important that young people are mindful when it comes to today’s environmental issues – and these students deserve a high level of recognition for being so devoted and passionate.”
The North Hills School, along with the other 17 winning schools, were honored at Project Farmhouse in Manhattan during an awards ceremony June 20 by Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. Including PS 221, each citywide winner, categorized into the top elementary, middle and high schools, was awarded $1,000 in cash prizes by the DSNY.
“Young people and public schools are two of our best partners in creating a sustainable New York,” Garcia said. “Students are the future of our city and they have some of the most creative recycling and sustainability ideas. We are proud to recognize their creativity, enthusiasm and commitment to reaching our city’s zero waste goals by 2030.”
“I’m proud of the innovative work our students have accomplished make this city more sustainable,” said Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza. “These hands-on, real-life learning opportunities are improving our communities while waste is being reduced and sustainability has been promoted.”
GrowNYC’s Recycling Champions Program has been helping the city’s public schools create effective recycling programs for over 400 schools since the program began in 2010, and the program awards a school based on its model recycling program.
Along with the GrowNYC Recycling Champions Program’s Super Recyclers, the DSNY competition also includes the DSNY Commissioner’s Cup, the Materials For the Arts Reuse Challenge and the Zero Waste Schools Challenge as well as the Citizen’s Committee for NYC’s Team Up to Clean Up awards.
Reach Steven Goodstein by e-mail at sgood