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Cooke pilots recycling and garbage reduction program

Sept. 15, 2015

Monticello students are helping the environment — by keeping an eye on their trash.

Students from George L. Cooke Elementary School are overseeing lunchroom recycling and waste disposal as part of a pilot program that's helped slash the amount of garbage the school would send to landfills.

Sullivan Renaissance selected Cooke as a ‘model school’ and helped the school adopt a pilot program on garbage reduction. The program began on Sept. 9 and has seen impressive results, according to district officials.

In order to make this program possible, a special recycling round table group was constructed to help students with the sorting process for their lunch recyclables.

Evadne Giannini of Hospitality Greens helped students sort their garbage and to identify what’s recyclable; students learned how to properly dispose of plastic ware, milk cartons, glass and other recyclables.

In years past, Cooke would produce between 12 and 15 bags of lunch garbage per day. Since the recycling program’s inception, the school has reduced that amount to 4 bags of garbage and 2 bags of recyclables.

At the school's Sept. 10 assembly, Principal Sandra Johnson-Fields and Assistant Principal Rosemarie Romano educated the students and staff about the new garbage reduction and recycling sorting system.

At the assembly, Jane Sorensen, EPIC Program Director introduced the stakeholders that attended the assembly.

"These are our stakeholders who are investing in this project and we need everyone to take ownership of this initiative in order for the system to work, she said. "Without the partnership of our stakeholders and cooperation of all of you, this project won’t take off, so we need you!”

Pictured at top left: Jane Sorensen introduces the stakeholders of the recycling project: Collen Emery from Sullivan Renaissance, John Travis, Director of Plant Operations, Kristine Walsh from Thompson Sanitation and Evadne Giannini from Green Hospitality.

Pictured at bottom right: Students take turns demonstrating how the recycling program works.

Pictured at bottom left: Principal Sandra Johnson-Fields helps a student navigate the recycling system.