Bill Gates on education + NYT on New York takeout containers = MFTA

New York City takeout containers photographed by Tony Cenicola for the New York Times

This weekend Bill and Melinda Gates weighed in on schools, teaching, and education reform in the Wall Street Journal. The Gates summarize a Scholastic study commissioned by their foundation, which found that teachers want (surprise!)

“more involvement from parents, more engagement from school leaders and higher quality materials to use in the classroom.”

We’ve been telling teachers to check out their recycling bins for useful materials for years. Joy, our Master Teaching Artist, shows teachers how they can use recyclables to create fun and interactive lessons–like creating a puppet based on a text from ELA or making a game to reinforce math concepts. Check out how NYC stacks up when it comes to disposing of our recycling and what can be made with these materials after the jump.

A cardboard box transformed into a teaching tool for math class (Image: Barbara Korein)

This weekend, the New York Times reported that New York now recycles about 15 percent of the waste collected by the Sanitation Department, which is primarily from residences, down from a peak of 23 percent in 2001. The article cited a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, and sponsored by Siemens, which ranked New York City 16th among 27 US/Canada cities in its handling of waste, though it was third in overall environmental performance. As you can see in the image below, we have no shortage of recyclables, we just need to become better about recycling them and better about finding another use for them before they hit the recycling bin.

A plant run by Sims Metal Management on the Jersey City waterfront is the sole recycler of metal, glass and plastic for New York City. (Photograph by Chang Lee for New York Times)

We hope more teachers will start to collecting takeout containers, egg cartons, and yogurt cups, and urging their students and families to collect them as well. Asking families to contribute these items–many of which are not recyclable in NYC per Sanitation Department regulations–is a great way to engage parents, who can look forward to their plastics returning home as a fantastic game or artwork related to what their children are learning in school–like the sculpture made from household recyclables below.

A sculpture made by a Queens middle school student using household items

This entry was posted in Education Center, News, Reuse Art and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bill Gates on education + NYT on New York takeout containers = MFTA

  1. Pingback: MFTA + Worms = A solution to NYC’s compost dilemma | Materials for the Arts

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