Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Release # 051-01

Contact: Sunny Mindel/ Lynn Rasic
Peter C. Fenty/ Kathy Dawkins
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Press Conference


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sanitation Commissioner Kevin P. Farrell today announced the expansion of the School Recycling Enhancement Program, an initiative designed to increase recycling rates and improve collection service to each of the City's 699 public schools that now receive curbside collection. The initiative, which began as a pilot program in November 2000, includes an educational outreach component through which specially trained Sanitation employees personally visit schools on their routes to help establish viable, self-sustaining recycling programs.

"I want to applaud the efforts of the Sanitation outreach officers and the Board of Education employees who have worked together to increase recycling in our City's schools," Mayor Giuliani said. "The pilot program, which involved 70 schools in the Bronx and Queens, was a tremendous success - increasing recycling rates over 500%. The genuine spirit of cooperation between the Department of Sanitation and the Board of Education will contribute to continued success as the program expands to encompass all 699 schools serviced by Sanitation's curbside collection routes."

"While we're encouraged that the overall recycling tonnage in schools is moving in the right direction, the more important result of the program is that students learn the benefits of recycling," Commissioner Farrell said. "If they learn this important lesson now, in school, they are likely to incorporate it as part of their overall lifestyle. Then, we will have made a real and lasting difference."

"I'm proud of the work we've done in cooperation with the Department of Sanitation," Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy said. "I hope to further our cooperation to improve recycling in all of our public schools."

The School Recycling Enhancement Program provides technical support to local principals and custodians, while also expanding recycling pickup service to schools. The expanded collection schedule, to be phased-in over the next eight months, increases service from one day a week to five day per week collection for recyclable material.

By substituting dual bin trucks for regular collection vehicles, the enhanced service schedule is made possible without incurring additional cost. Dual bin trucks enable Sanitation to pickup both regular garbage and recyclable material at the same time.

The expanded school recycling initiative follows the success of a pilot program that saw recycling rates increase over 500% (22.4% vs. 3.7%) in the 70 schools initially targeted. The program was initiated last November when four Sanitation employees first began their outreach efforts along three schools routes in the Bronx and Queens. The pilot program also resulted in a 983% increase in recycling tonnage over last year's school recycling figures; 123.5 tons were collected during the pilot vs. 11.4 tons the year before.

Commissioner Farrell noted that the 699 schools to receive enhanced collection represent more than 60% of all City schools in the Board of Education system. Farrell also noted that analysts' projections indicated that upwards of 10,000 tons of recyclable material could be captured annually when this program becomes fully operational.

The Mayor and Commissioner Farrell credited the success of the pilot program, to the dedication of the members of the Sanitation outreach unit and to local Board of Education officials. At the press conference, the Mayor and Commissioner Farrell recognized the four Sanitation employees who implemented the program from its inception, Bernie Smyth, Victor Cruz, Michael Cianciotto, and Pat Grayson. Also recognized were Board of Education custodians and principals involved in the program's development, including custodians Ken Fielder, Lou Celentano, Robert Guasta, Joseph Nevis, Robert Paul, Anibal Maldonado, Tom Kossomedes, and Ronald McGovern, who attended the press conference.

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