SWEEPing Change in Districtwide Recycling

  • Sayville Schools

    First in Islip Township

    to Recycle Paper



    Did you know that New York State mandated recycling in 1988, but most schools and businesses on Long Island do not recycle?” asks Sayville High School senior Tessa Buono, the current SWEEP President and the Recycling Committee Chairperson. Tessa earned her Chairperson status by researching laws and garbage contracts, and developing the paper recycling program for Sayville High School. “At Sayville High School, the environmental club, SWEEP, has been trying to recycle for 10 years. In 2008 SWEEP formed a Recycling Committee, and we designed a paper-recycling program for the high school.”


    Sayville School District approved the recycling program as a pilot in the High School in 2009, thanks to the work of Tessa Buono, Sonja Anderson- Advisor of Recycling Committee and the SWEEP Recycling committee members, SWEEP Faculty Advisor Maria Brown, and the cooperation of the Sayville District/ Building Administrators and High School custodial staff.


    The pilot program was so successful, the District deemed it worthy of implementation districtwide. Since then, the SWEEP Recycling Committee has created and delivered presentations educating students, teachers, and administrators on the importance of recycling. Today, every school in the Sayville District recycles paper, making Sayville the first School District in Islip Township to implement a successful paper-recycling program!


    “Eighty dumpsters per month of trash is now recycled,” Tessa explains. Her statistics are impressive. “This is equivalent to 760 dumpsters of garbage in one school year, which equals 7,600 cubic yards of material a year now being sent to the recycling center instead of to the incinerator and landfill. This project decreases Sayville District’s trash by 2,160 tons each year! Calculations show that recycling 7,600 cubic yards (2,160 tons) saves approximately 36,720 trees, 820,800 gallons of oil, 8,640,000 kilowatts of energy, and 15,120,000 gallons of water. This also reduces air pollution by 129,600 pounds.  Even better, Sayville will now make this very positive contribution to the environment every year.”


    Certainly, this program, launched by concerned students, has contributed sweeping change to waste management in Sayville Schools.


    Special thanks go to the following who helped make Sayville School Recycling a reality: 

       Tessa Buono- SWEEP President, Recycling Committee Chairperson. Driven by her environmental concerns and fueled by her research, Tessa initiated and developed the paper recycling program for Sayville High School.

       SWEEP Recycling Committee- Tessa Buono, Nick Walsh, Conrad Volle, Greg Kane, Gabrielle Pacia, Neha Kinariwalla, Kathreen Mangaluz. SWEEP Recycling Committee developed and delivered recycling presentations at various Sayville schools.

       Mrs. Maria Brown- Faculty Advisor of SWEEP. Mrs. Brown forwarded the recycling proposal to the Assistant Superintendent, Mr. John Belmonte and engaged the janitors to save copy paper boxes to be used for paper receptacles in classrooms. She arranged presentation times with the Sayville schools, wrote a grant proposal to FutureCorps and purchased plastic recycling bins for every high school classroom with the grant and SWEEP funds.

       Mrs. Sonja Anderson- Advisor of Recycling Committee. Mrs. Anderson helped the Recycling Committee brainstorm and plan the paper recycling program. She also played a large role in the fundraiser “Mid-Week Java” by purchasing and delivering all the food.

       Mr. John Belmonte- Assistant Superintendent for Business, Sayville School District. Mr. Belmonte approved the pilot paper recycling program and the district-wide roll-out. He handled the administration of garbage contracts, bills etc.

       Nancy Cochran- Executive Director of Keep Islip Clean (KIC). Mrs. Cochran helped Sayville Junior Commissioners figure out the best route to approach the recycling barriers and donated pencils made from recycled materials to give to elementary students as recycling trivia prizes during our presentations.

       FutureCorps-  a Newsday (LI newspaper)  program. FutureCorps gave SWEEP a $200 grant to help pay for our high school recycling bins.

       The Custodial Staff at HS – They collected copy paper boxes for SWEEP, and they now dump the paper from the five central bins to the exterior paper dumpsters each week.

       All the students, teachers, staff and administration in the Sayville Schools who decided to make a commitment to go green!

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