The “Greening” of PS 87

April 22nd is Earth Day and YOU can make a difference! Learn some simple habits that can help you and your family protect the Earth 

The best way to minimize garbage is to change our daily behaviors that lead to the creation of waste and to make sure, that in doing so, we are generating less of it. This seems easier said than done but we have to remember that generating less garbage means that we are sending less waste into landfills and protecting our precious Planet Earth. 

April 22nd is Earth Day and it is important to remind ourselves each year that it just takes a little bit of change to make a big difference. So what is the best way to keep garbage from making its way to landfills? The best way is to employ what is referred to as the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. What does this really mean and how does it apply to PS 87? Well, as some of you know and for those of you who don’t, PS 87 was selected as one of the 100 pilot public schools to participate in New York City’s Department of Education’s Zero Waste Initiative. 

nyc doe waste

The Zero Waste Initiative, which was launched by the NYC DOE in 2016 in 100 pilot schools, including PS 87, has a goal of diverting all recyclable and composting waste from entering landfills. The goal of the program is to reduce the total amount of waste each school sends to landfills to zero, that’s right, ZERO! This ambitious goal seeks to send ALL food waste to composting plants and ALL recyclable material to recycling facilities by 2030. But more importantly, the plan is that no school will generate any other garbage, everything will either be composted or recycled. 

PS 87, has a goal of diverting all recyclable and composting waste from entering landfills. The goal of the program is to reduce the total amount of waste each school sends to landfills to zero, that’s right, ZERO!

This might sound impossible and the truth is, it will be hard. However, with some simple changes in behavior, this can be achieved. Just like brushing your teeth before bed or washing your hands before you eat, recycling is a habit. All it takes to make recycling part of your daily life is time and practice. The same rules also apply to composting. Establishing these habits at home as well as in school will help to make these simple steps an important part of your child(ren)’s daily life.

Our New Sustainability Coordinator: Kindergarten Teacher Zoe Hemenway 

Zoe grew up in Vermont with a big compost pile in her backyard so being green comes naturally for her. This is her first year teaching Kindergarten at PS87 and also her first year as our Sustainability Coordinator. As the sustainability coordinator, Zoe ensures that students know what goes in which recycling bin. In order to facilitate this, Zoe and some of her students worked hard in the beginning of the year to create recycling friendly lids for each of the garbage bins in her classroom. 

She also maintains a small compost bin in the classroom that is tightly sealed, making it clean, and has a filter to keep yucky smells inside the bin. Zoe is excitedly planning an Earth Day project for her classroom. She wants to make sure that kids are eager to go green. She wants to see them excited about using both sides of a paper, recycling, composting, and saving energy. 

Since Earth Day falls in April, Zoe has found the book of the month, The Earth Book, written by Todd Parr, which focuses on things that kids can do to help keep Planet Earth healthy and protect the environment. As the PS 87 Sustainability Coordinator, for Earth Day, Zoe wants the student body to understand what it means to be green, why it is important to be green, and how we can be green. 

The Earth Book by Todd Parr

todd park

In honor of Earth Day, the next book of the month will be The EARTH Book, written by Todd Parr.  In this picture book, Todd Parr explores the important subject of environmental protection and conservation.  This book has been printed with recycled material and non-toxic soy based inks and has easy, smart ideas on how we can all work together to make Planet Earth feel good.

Recent “Green” Initiatives at PS 87

This year we have implemented reusable dishware, cups, and utensils for publishing parties and for board meetings.  Each time there is a board meeting or a publishing party, we look for a parent volunteer who will collect the reusable kitchenware and wash it at home.  The best part is everything is dishwasher safe so you don’t have to wash it by hand. If you would like to know more, please email

What can be recycled at School?

On school premises, you can recycle paper, plastic and metal in the recycling bins behind officer Ayala’s desk, but did you also know that we have bins for batteries and pens?  Also, please bring your used batteries and pens to the lobby to make sure they get recycled.  And if you weren’t aware already, there is organic waste (composting) bins in the cafeteria so whatever doesn’t get eaten, won’t go to waste but instead gets turned into soil or other organic material.   

For More Information about the PS 87 Green Team, please email!  If you want to join us, please fill this form out, and email it to

For information about “Green” Field trips or to watch informative videos, please see the links at the bottom of the page.
Below are some suggestions for starting good habits at home and the bottom of the page has additional resources.  

Don’t forget to Recycle!

Free Electronic Recycling through e-cycleNYC  (

  • Free electronic waste recycling service available to residential buildings with 10 or more units.
  • Electronics are recycled domestically using industry and environmental standards.

Pack a Zero-Waste lunch! – more information from the DOE!

  • Use reusable containers, reusable sandwich wrappers, and reusable lunch bags
  • Use a water bottle to keep your drinks cool or a thermos to keep your food hot

Compost at Home!

Or you can recycle through the NYC Grow, Greenmarkets

  • Buy a small box that can be kept outside the fridge during the winter or refrigerated during summer à Amazon sells the Snapware Airtight Plastic Food Storage Container that fits easily in your fridge.
  • It’s Easy to drop off organic waste at your local Greenmarket
  • Every Sunday compost (no meat or dairy) is collected at the greenmarket on Columbus and 80th Street
  • Every Thursday and Saturday, compost (no meat or dairy) is collected at the greenmarket on 65th and Broadway

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