Flushing and Briarwood schools win green for going green

Photo provided by Wing Kong

Queens public schools cleaned up nicely in this year’s Zero Waste Schools Awards hosted by the city’s Department of Sanitation.

P.S. 32 State Street School in Flushing, J.H.S. 185 Edward Bleeker in Flushing, M.S. 217 The Green Magnet School for Career Exploration in Briarwood, I.S. 10 Horace Greeley in Long Island City and P.S. 993 in Floral Park were all honored this week for their efforts and projects to make their schools and communities more environmentally friendly.  

M.S. 217 won citywide honors in the Team Up To Clean Up Contest, in which the school proved to have some of the most innovative and effective clean up projects. The school also received an honorable mention for their efforts to create art out of reused and recycled goods.

“We are very excited,” said Karen Phillips, the sustainability teacher at M.S. 217.

As part of the school’s green initiative, teachers began a recycling game inside the classroom.

“We want to make it so that it’s just automatic and they don’t have to think about it that much,” said Phillips.

For the second year in a row P.S. 32 State Street School in Flushing won big. It took several awards, including the DSNY’s Commissioner’s Cup, the award given to the school with the most outstanding sustainability efforts.

Wing Kong, co-PTA president at P.S. 32, organized projects aimed at reducing waste at bake sales, collecting plastic bags and cutting down on paper use.

The school also created an ocean plastic mural, titled “When the Mermaid Cries,” to help “staff and students evaluate the kind of waste they generate every day,” Kong said.

The Zero Waste Schools program aims to improve sustainability practices in public schools throughout the city. The awards began in 2001.

“Young people and public schools are two of our best partners in creating a sustainable New York,” said Steven Costas, acting commissioner of the Department of Sanitation. “Students are the future of our city and they have some of the most creative recycling and sustainability ideas.”

Winners of citywide honors, like P.S. 32 and J.H.S. 217, will receive $1,500. Runners up are awarded $750.

Six schools in Brooklyn won awards, the only borough with more wins than Queens.

An award ceremony for all winning schools will be held at The Oval on Governors Island on Thursday, June 13, at 3:45 p.m.

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