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City to Use Converted Trailer to Teach Kids About Recycling

By Serena Solomon | August 1, 2012 1:34pm

EAST VILLAGE — A mobile classroom designed to educate students about recycling could be coming to a school near you.

The Department of Education unveiled a converted trailer dubbed the "Recyclarium" that offers kids interactive games to teach the importance of reusing different materials.

The colorful trailer, funded by the Sanitation Department and designed by city contractor Sims Municipal Recycling, was unveiled at PS 63, an East Village school leading the way in conservation through its composting program.

"We take conservation very seriously," said DOE chancellor Dennis Walcott, at a press conference with parents and kids from the school. "And our students and staff are playing their part."

Students tested out the interactive features such as "Take-Back/Donate," a game that explains what can’t be recycled at the curbside, such as electronics, before directing students to where these items can be recycled at designated locations in the city.

The trailer can accommodate 10 to 15 students at a time for the interactive tour, which takes about 30 minutes. It will begin making the rounds of city schools in the Fall, but the DOE has yet to finalize the list of schools in will be visiting.

The trailer is also part of PlaNYC, the Mayor Michael Bloomberg's initiative to prepare the city for the future.

The school on East 3rd Street, which recently changed its name to the S.T.A.R. Academy, was picked for the trailer’s first stop because of its innovated environment programs, according to Walcott.

"I wanted to congratulate students, the administration and faculty at PS 63 who piloted a compositing program in May and June and were able to reduce waste by 85 percent in just two months," he said.

The S.T.A.R. Academy's principal, Darlene Despeignes, outlined the pilot program called "flip-tap-stack" where students compost food scraps that are then sent to a local community garden on East 10th Street.

"Our students, teachers and parents are very conscious about saving the environment and have worked hard in creating a school culture that is mindful of energy conservation and recycling," said Despeignes.

She added the pilot program would be expanding to include all of PS 63 as well as PS 363, which is located in the same building. Student leaders would also become involved in monitoring the program she said.