The Green Three Rs

Our school embodies the Three Rs: Respect, Responsible and Ready. We also actively encourage and support the other Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

On this page, you can find quick and easy GREEN tips courtesy of our own 6th grade English teacher, Mrs. Peoples!

If you are a parent who is trying to get your kids into becoming eco-friendly, you may find it difficult to know where to even start. Environmentalists predict that the planet is becoming even more endangered and future generations will suffer the consequences. Teaching good habits from a young age allows children to view recycling as the norm and is an important aspect for their understanding of how the environment will benefit from their actions.

Take the Zero Waste Challenge

In support of World Environment Day on 5th June, ISS is challenging you to take action to produce less waste. This could be one small change (like using a ceramic mug instead of a disposable one), or you could go the whole day without producing any rubbish.

The aim is to get as many people around the world to take up the challenge, with thousands of small changes contributing to a bigger, global effort to prevent and reduce waste.

So, get involved and make a difference! Commit as an individual or on behalf of your team and see just how well you can do without your disposable coffee cups, paper hand towels and plastic water bottles.

Together, we can help ISS reach its target of 10,000 people signing to take part.

Funny Earth Day Jokes for Kids

  • Why did the leaf go to the doctor? — It was feeling green.
  • How can you tell the ocean is friendly? — It waves.
  • Why is grass so dangerous? — Because it’s full of blades.
  • Why did the sun go to school? — To get brighter.
  • How do you cut a wave in half? — Use a sea saw.
  • What did the tree wear to the pool party? — Swimming trunks.
  • What did the ground say to the earthquake? — You crack me up!
  • What kind of shorts to clouds wear? — Thunderwear!
  • Why do tornadoes zigzag? — They’re dizzy.
  • Why did the woman go outdoors with her purse open? — Because she expected some change in the weather.
  • What’s the difference between weather and climate? — You can’t weather a tree, but you can climate.
  • What kind of plant grow on your hand? — Palm tree.
  • What happens when it rains cats and dogs? — You have to been careful not to step in a poodle.
  • What is a tree’s least favorite month? — Sep-timber!
  • What’s the biggest moth in the world? — A mammoth!
  • Why are recycle bins optimistic? — Because they’re full of cans.
  • What did the little tree say to the big tree? — Leaf me alone!

Here are a few top tips to turn your little ones into recycling experts!

Make Recycling Fun!!
Turn what may be perceived as a boring task into fun games and activities.

  • Encourage the kids to decorate bins with stickers and drawings related to recycling, so that they are more likely to use them. Once they start recognizing which item is placed in which bin, give them a small reward so that they are aware that they have done a good job.
  • Turn recycling into a game. Collect plastic, paper, cardboard and glass with the aim of sorting through items and placing them into the correct bins within a time limit. Again, give them a small reward if they have completed the task correctly.
  • The internet has an array of learning activities, videos and information that children can explore. The visual aspect can be extremely powerful and educational in their understanding of how their small duties will make a huge difference in the long-term.
  • Put the kids in charge! Allow them to monitor the family to see if everyone is doing their recycling duties correctly. Ensuring that they are an important part of the recycling process will make them feel much more involved and enthusiastic about their role, which should instil greater responsibility for the future.
  • Get a recycling mascot. Using a teddy bear as the household mascot would be a great idea for younger children to understand recycling. They could make an outfit solely out of recycled materials and you may also use it discuss how their teddy bear expects their participation in improving the environment.
Spring is here!  It is a great time to declutter, reduce, recycle, and get some spring cleaning done in your home or office.  Here are some tips for decluttering and recycling this Spring!
Reduce: Go room-by-room, drawer-by-drawer, closet-by-closet and group the items that you haven’t used in a while. If you cannot remember that last time you used it, or you forgot that you had it, it is a good sign that it is time to pass it on. Reducing waste and clutter in your home could also include unsubscribing from junk mail lists
Reuse: Avoid the “throw it away” mentality and think about how the item can get re-used. Can old furniture be re-finished or re-upholstered? Are there creative uses for the item that you haven’t thought of? Old fabrics could be used as rags and last year’s birthday cards could be used for art projects.
Recycle: As you are spring cleaning, look around your home and office to see how you can better set it up for easy recycling.  For instance, is there a place in the bathroom or upstairs to put recyclables, like toilet paper rolls, paper, and plastic shampoo bottles?  Is your workplace’s lunchroom set up for easy recycling for plastics, aluminum, glass, and paper?
Donate or Sell: There are probably plenty of items that you don’t need or want anymore, but someone else would appreciate.  If you think the item has value, try selling it on a garage sale, swap and sell site, or online site like eBay.  Donating your items to places like Goodwill, or a local clothing drive, will help to give the items new life.

There are tons of little things we can do in our homes to play a small part in reducing landfill waste, cleaning the air, and preserving the natural landscape. Here are some small, easy, green choices we can make in our homes.

Did You Know? Green Facts…

– Turning down your thermostat by one degree can cut 8% off your fuel bill.
– An energy efficient washing machine will use a third less electricity for each wash, which could save you
  more than the cost of the appliance.
– If every household replaced one roll of regular toilet paper with one recycled post-consumer waste roll,
  424,000 trees would be saved.
– Every three months, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the nation’s commercial air fleet.
– The energy saved from one recycled aluminum can will operate a television for three hours.
– Recycling a glass bottle causes 20% less air pollution & 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle
  is made from raw materials.
– It takes 75,000 trees to print a Sunday Edition of the New York Times.
– The amount of wood & paper Americans throw away each year is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.

The truth about e-waste……

In 2017 the global volume of discarded refrigerators, TVs, cellphones, computers, monitors and other electronic waste will weigh almost as much as 200 Empire State Buildings. Up to 90% of the world’s electronic waste is illegally dumped.The public knows very little about e-waste and how to properly dispose of electronics. Here are things to know about the e-waste life cycle.
What counts as e-waste – Electronic waste includes all discarded electric or electronic devices with battery power or circuitry or electric elements. This includes mobile phones, television sets, computers, printers, and entertainment devices such as stereo systems, as well as refrigerators, washing machines and dryers.
Where e-waste goes – Electronic waste is a globalized business, and about 70% to 80% of it is shipped to landfills in many developing nations, where it is sorted and sold for scrap metal or burned to extract materials, which is harmful to people and the surrounding environment. The US also sends e-waste to prisons, where it is processed in under-regulated environments.
Why it matters to properly dispose – Electronic waste can have many toxic elements inside. Up to 60 elements from the periodic table can be found inside e-waste items, as well as flame retardants and other toxic chemicals. For example, cadmium is found in personal computer batteries and monitors. It is extremely harmful to humans and the environment.
What it can be turned into – The metal from these devices can be used for many things, if extracted properly. Cell phone batteries and metals inside the phone can be used to make new ones, or for jewelry, art, metal plates, or other electronics.
Where to dispose e-waste – There are several good resources to find out about local or regional e-waste recycling programs. The EPA and the Electronics Take Back Coalition offer information about e-Stewards, which are responsible recyclers. If there is no e-Steward near you, look at the manufacturer or store recycling programs. For instance, Staples and Best Buy both have recycling programs.
Use both sides of the paper you write on.  Many of us are still using a lot of paper at home, but mostly at work where perhaps paper is more reliably available and overused and they don’t get to make the recycling and going green decisions. Even if you are jotting down a quick reminder on a note pad, use the other side.
Stop drinking bottled water. Yes, it is real convenient to just buy a bottle of water on the run or during lunch, but stop. Buy a reusable container that is safe (safer than those plastic bottles). Buy a filter for your kitchen sink. It is simple and saves some green in your wallet. 
Get rid of junk mail.  Take the time to sign up and stop junk email from being delivered to your home. There are a bunch of services online that help you eliminate junk mail from being delivered. Receive online Bank Statements and utility bills.Online bill pay is much more secure.
Spring is just around the corner, and is the perfect time to make a few changes in your life to clean-up your home, the planet and most importantly, green up your lifestyle. So along with cleaning out the garage, milling through outdated clothes in your closet and scrubbing the windows, take a few steps to embrace all things GREEN via recipes, habits and activities.
Farmer’s Market Habit. Try to get in the habit of paying a visit to your local farmer’s market each week. You will be supporting the ‘locavore’ movement while enjoying farm fresh produce that you select yourself.
Start a Recycling Habit. Once you start recycling it becomes addicting! You start looking for those recycle bins in restaurants and on the street ,and it feels good.
Support Pet Adoption and Animal Sanctuaries. If you are a pet lover, ask your local pet adoption non-profits what you can do to help! Sometimes these companies are in need of volunteers or food donations. Helping animals find loving homes is an act that will make you feel good from the inside out.
Household Detox. Rummage through your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and read the labels of your cleaning and personal care products. Choose green options or try out some very basic ingredients like lemon juice, white vinegar, baking soda and essential oils like lavender and citrus to freshen up your home!

Being intentionally eco-wise is about celebrating the creativity of creation, being good stewards with what we’re given, and passing on those values to the next generation.

An eco-friendly lifestyle doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. Try these tips and trick throughout your day to create a lifestyle that’ll make you — and the earth — proud.

In the Morning
  • Brew “certified” coffee. A USDA Certified Organic label means it was grown using sustainable standards.
  • Green “to go.” Not brewing at home? Take a travel cup to your favorite java joint; they may fill it at a discount.
At Work
  • Double up. Configure your office printer or copy machine so it prints on both sides of the page.
  • Put it to sleep. If you’ll be away from your computer for more than 20 minutes, change it to “sleep” mode.
Running Errands
  • BYOB. Bags, that is. It’s good for your wallet, too: Some retailers, such as CVS, now pay you for every disposable bag you don’t take ($1 on a special CVS card for every four trips on which you BYO).
Before Bed
  • Truly turn off electronics. Plug your devices — the TV and DVD player, or the computer and printer — into a UL-certified power strip; switch the whole group off for the evening to prevent phantom electrical draw.
Here are some small, easy, green choices we can make in our homes.
**Plant an herb garden.  It’s good to have a reminder around of where our food originates, and this one is super easy.
**Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model
**Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles.
**Repurpose glass jars as leftover containers and bulk storage
**Donate to thrift shops

Winter time has arrived and heating cost are going to sky rocket! Help lower your heating cost, energy use and air purification by winterizing your home the green way.
Install a programmable thermostat to keep heating cost under control
It will keep an even temperature so it is not being constantly turned up when someone is cold or turned down when the house becomes too warm. Invest in several warm throws to keep on couches, chairs and as pillows. This provides everyone will a little extra warmth while the house remains at the right temperature to keep cost low. This is going to be the most efficient of green living tips when it comes to controlling the heating cost.
Insulate your water heater
By turning down the water heater by 3 degrees and investing in an insulation blanket made just for this purpose, you will still be able to enjoy the same hot shower every morning before work. It uses less energy to keep the water at a wonderful temp when properly insulated. It is a low cost investment that will bring back high returns in the end.
Invest in green plants to keep in the living room, the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom
Green plants help to recycle and freshen the air you breath all winter long. Once your home is sealed, you need the plants to help remove toxins and stale air. You will feel better emotionally and physically with the addition of living plants in your home.

As you get together with friends and family for birthdays, holidays, or other celebrations, why not celebrate the environment too? Here are some simple ideas for greening up your festivities.
Choose eco-friendly gifts. Look for gifts made with the environment in mind (such as shade-grown chocolate or coffee; or items made with recycled glass, metal, plastic, or paper). Or give gifts that get used up, like soap, food, or candles.
Green up your gift wrap. Instead of spending money on store-bought wrapping paper that ends up in a landfill, make your own wrapping from newspaper, magazines, or catalogs. Or use fabric items to wrap gifts, such as wrapping a cookbook in a dishtowel, or clothing in a scarf. Reusable gift bags are another eco-conscious way to present gifts — they’re also easier to use than wrapping paper!
Decorate with the planet in mind. Holiday lighting can be a big energy user, so try to find efficient lighting (such as LED lights). Turn outdoor lighting displays off when you go to bed or if you’re not at home. If you light candles, choose natural ones made with beeswax or soy instead of petroleum-based ingredients.
Send greetings that really care. Create your own cards using your computer or art supplies and recycled paper. Some people keep old cards, cut the pictures out, and use these to make new cards or gift tags. Better still, go paperless with e-cards.
Reuse and recycle. As you plan your event or celebration, keep in mind ways to reduce waste, such as using rechargeable batteries in electronic items. If you receive gifts you can’t return or use, pass them on to someone who can — or donate them to a charity resale shop. (You can also do this with any old items that this year’s gifts replace.)

Thanksgiving is generally about three things: tradition, food and family (in no particular order). All of which can make it seem like a tough time to go green. Try going green (or greener) this year by incorporating some eco-friendly changes to your holiday shopping, food, and decorations with our easy — and fun — tips. 

Do as much of your Thanksgiving Day shopping as possible at local farmers markets and farms — for food items like eggs, milk, veggies, turkey, potatoes, pie fillings and more. 
The benefits to your health might not be proven, but there’s no doubt that organic agriculture is better for the landscape — fewer pesticides and other toxic chemicals seeping into soil and running off into rivers and lakes.
Decorations – Use the beauty of nature instead of man-made plastic. Step outside and gather some pretty oak leaves and acorns to arrange on the table. Clip some branches and put them in a vase. Use squashes or gourds as centerpieces.
Use reusable or borrow rather than buy. Choose reusable leftover containers and cookware or borrow extra dishes, platters and special bakeware.

Teaching children to care for the environment is an important parental responsibility that is crucial for their future. But sometimes helping the planet can feel overwhelming for small shoulders. Remember to encourage young children to take one step at a time when going green. The little things they can do really make a big difference.
Here are ways to encourage children to go green:

The power switch: One simple way we can conserve the earth’s resources is by not using more electricity than we need. Teach children to turn off lights when they leave a room and turn off the TV if they are not watching it.

Pull the plug: Even when electronics and appliances are turned off, they still consume energy if plugged in the electrical outlet. Conserve energy by teaching older children to unplug their game systems, computers, chargers, or audio equipment. Little ones can participate too by becoming the family “plug police” and inform grownups of any unused household equipment that is plugged into an electrical outlet. 
Turn off the tap: Water should not be running while children brush their teeth. Teach children to turn off the tap and reduce shower time to conserve energy.
Collect rainwater: Water can be recycled too! Children often enjoy collecting rainwater. The next time it rains, place a pail or container outside and put a heavy rock or brick inside to prevent it from tipping over. When the rain is done, they will have a fresh supply of water to feed household plants.
Pass it on: Clothes, toys and other household items that are no longer used can be donated to organizations instead of thrown into the trash. Pick through items with your children and find a local organization that will benefit from your donation. Children feel good knowing they are helping their community.
The critical first step of waste prevention has been overshadowed by a focus on recycling. Please help to promote a greater awareness of the importance of the “Reduce” part of the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mantra with the following tips.
SimplifySimplify your life as much as possible. Only keep belongings that you use/enjoy on a regular basis. By making the effort to reduce what you own, you will naturally purchase less/create less waste in the future
Reduce PurchasesIn general, think before you buy any product – do you really need it? How did the production of this product impact the environment and what further impacts will there be with the disposal of the product (and associated packaging materials)? When you are thinking about buying something, try the 30-Day Rule — wait 30 days after the first time you decide you want a product to really make your decision. This will eliminate impulse buying.
Replace Disposables: Wherever possible, replace disposable products with reusable ones (i.e., razor, food storage, batteries, ink cartridges (buy refill ink), coffee filters, furnace or air conditioner filters, etc.).
Buy Used: Buy used products whenever possible. Some sources: Local thrift stores, Ebay, Amazon, Freecycle, garage sales, local consignment shops, Craigslist.
Share With Friends: Share things like books, magazines, movies, games, and newspapers between friends and neighbors.
Avoid Creating TrashAvoid creating trash wherever possible: when ordering food, avoid receiving any unnecessary plastic utensils, straws, etc. (ask in advance), buy ice cream in a cone instead of a cup, don’t accept “free” promotional products, buy products with the least amount of packaging, etc. Every little bit of trash avoided does make a difference!
Being intentionally eco-wise is about celebrating the creativity of creation, being good stewards with what we’re given, and passing on those values to the next generation. There are tons of little things we can do in our homes to play a small part in reducing landfill waste, cleaning the air, and preserving the natural landscape. But we double our efforts when we get our kids involved, helping them understand the why to our what
Here are some small, easy, green choices we can make in our homes. 
  • Start using reusable bags when you shop.
  • Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle, and stop buying plastic disposable bottles.
  • Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot. 
  • Support your local economy and shop at your local farmer’s market
  • Turn off your computer completely at night. 
  • Reuse scrap paper.  Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.
  • Unplug unused chargers and appliances.

Don’t spook the environment this Halloween!
Follow our green Halloween tips for fun ideas to keep your night green and the environment clean!
Instead of buying decorations, gather supplies throughout the year to make your own.
– Turn cardboard boxes into tombstones.
– Use leftover paper towel or toilet paper rolls to make hanging bats.
– Spray paint old netting or ripped stockings white to look like spider webs.
– Shape chicken wire in to ghostly figures and spray paint with glow in the dark paint.
– Paint old jars to looks like ghosts and pumpkins.
– Drape old sheets over bushes and add eyes to look like ghosts
– Make your own costumes instead of buying new.
– Keep old accessories and clothes that can be used to accent your costume.
– Use an old sheet to create a ghost costume or even an ancient greek toga.
– Let your kids use their imagination to turn old clothes into something cool!
– Pass out treats that use minimal packaging or are packaged in recycled materials.
– Use household items such as buckets, pillowcases, or old paper bags to use as trick-or-treat bags.
– Use the pumpkin seeds you dig out from your jack-o-lantern to make tasty treats.
– Trick-or-treat within walking distance from your home, you’ll reduce carbon emissions from not driving and help keep the roads safe for other walkers.

Going green isn’t as tough as you think. Slowly make the switch by making one easy change each week of the year.
Imagine an entire year of living green. Not only would you reduce your carbon footprint by a massive amount, but you could probably inspire others to do the same.
All it takes is a lot of little changes to make a really big difference. Go ahead and do your part, starting today.
Create an Eco-friendly Work place
Technology –Your computer may go to sleep, but it’s still sucking up energy. Turn your computer and monitor off at the end of the day. In addition, take steps to create an eco-friendly workplace.
Print more economically — Think before you print!  Do you need to print the document at all?  If so, be sure to print on both sides of the paper.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle – Be sure to have a bin in your workplace to place used paper and other recyclable products.
Lights out – Help conserve energy by turning out lights whenever you leave the room.

Weeds– Spring is upon us, and with spring comes that pesky yellow plant… the dandelion.  Beloved of beekeepers, this beautiful bee-friendly plant has become the bane of the lawn-proud. But dandelions contain loads of pollen and are among the most important flowers for bees emerging weak and hungry from the winter. Bees use the dandelion’s abundant pollen to nourish their young.  If you insist on a dandelion-free yard, plant other pollen-laden flowers and dig out weeds rather than spraying them. Pesticides and fertilizers harm both harmful and beneficial insects equally.  Chemical runoff into water has been implicated in the decline of amphibian populations. Weeds develop resistance to herbicides, and require higher doses to manage as time goes on. If you are a homeowner proud of your lawn, be prouder still when you use organic weed management methods on your lawn, and maintain a patch of pollinator-friendly flowers that you never spray with chemicals.

Hang in there! – Living responsibly is really no harder than ignoring the strains that our society’s lifestyle has placed on our earth’s resources. Indeed, if individuals and establishments like schools and businesses continue to waste and pollute, the challenges will be much greater. Like any habits, once established, they become second nature. Recycling, turning out lights, and not using plastic shopping bags are all examples of comfortable conservation. These habits are called comfortable because they are so easy to adopt.

While it’s frustrating to go to a public event and not see proper recycling measures, or to drive by an office building at night with all the lights on, or to see a sales clerk place a single small item in a plastic shopping bag, don’t give up the good fight.  Little by little, good habits will rub off.  Can one person can make a difference? Maybe, maybe not.  But know that you are not just one person. A lot of people get it, even if a lot of others don’t. Keep setting a good example, and believe that what you do matters, because it does!

Gardening: Ahhh, spring! Budding trees and greening grass.  Here’s something to think about as you dust off your lawn mower: Don’t over-mow. For most lawns, that means cutting your grass no lower than 2.5 inches; keeping many grasses as long as 3.5 inches is ideal for crowding out

crab grass and other weeds. IN addition, longer grass retains water better. Leave grass clippings on the lawn for a natural (and free) source of nutrients, or compost the clippings for use in your garden. Whatever you do to keep your grass green and weed free, remember that whatever you put on your grass will get eaten by birds, insects, and other small critters, and it will run off into streams and ponds. So…Use natural fertilizers or compost. They release nutrients slowly throughout the year, won’t leach away, and support the variety of soil organisms that combat diseases. Use only lawn care companies that use natural management practices as opposed to heavy chemical treatments.

Spring  Cleaning: Spring is the time for cleaning out closets, basements and store rooms.  It’s not a coincidence that it’s also a time of yard sales.  If you don’t have the inclination to have your own yard sale, don’t throw your stuff away.  There’s a lot more life in them yet!  You can donate to the Salvation Army and get a receipt which can be used for tax deductions. You will keep things out the landfill and help those in our community. Tip: Keep an area in your basement with a box or two.  As you come across things over the year that you no longer want, put them in “the garage sale box.”  An item or two here or there may not feel like much, but it adds up over the year.

Green Cleaning
 – Now that you’ve gotten rid of all that clutter, it’s time to clean. When buying and using cleaning products, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t accept vague claims. Words like “biodegradable” or “nontoxic” have no legal definitions. Verify green claims with Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Cleaning Guide.
  • Avoid cleaners containing phosphates (Phosphates are common in shampoos as well). When they get into rivers and lakes, they cause algae blooms, robbing the water of oxygen, blocking sunlight, and ultimately killing aquatic life.
  • Instead of one-use items like paper towels and mop pads, use old t-shirts and other rags that you can wash and use again.
  • Minimize use of bleaches. The most common bleach is chlorine, which in wastewater can create toxic compounds. Non-chlorine bleaches are gentler to clothes and the environment, though they are less effective in colder-water temperatures, requiring more energy-intensive hot water.
  • Use no more than a cleaner’s recommended amount. In fact, most detergents work just fine with 1/2 of the recommended amount.
  • Try running your dishwasher & washing machine on the eco or light setting.  This often does the job just fine.
Keep in touch with nature…  Now that spring is here, it’s time to get reacquainted with the outdoors. After-school time used to involve catching fireflies, exploring the neighborhood woods, making mudpies, and just having a good time running around outside. This has changed dramatically in the digital age and children are less connected to nature, which can cause them to care less about its condition. Instead of plopping down in front of the T.V. or computer after school, encourage your kids get outside for an hour or two each day. Take a family walk after dinner, devote part of your weekends to outdoor-only activities like gardening, biking, and hiking, or start a nature club for your family. Studies have shown children who spend more time outside are less likely to suffer from obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder, and depression.
Where does the water go?   – All the water that goes down the drain will get processed at a wastewater treatment facility. Every gallon processed consumes energy and emits greenhouse gases at various points in the process.  Water pours from the tap at a rate of over two gallons of water per minute. If every American household reduced their water use by 10 gallons on just one day, it would save more than 1 billion gallons of water and all of the energy and materials used to pump and treat it.
How can you conserve?
Turn off the water while washing your hands and brushing your teeth.
Scrape dirty dishes clean, instead of using water to rinse them before you put them in the dishwasher.
If you don’t use a dishwasher, fill the sink with a few gallons of soapy wash water, clean your dishes, and put them aside. Then rinse them all together afterward.
Only run your dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
Try using your dishwasher’s energy-saver mode. It usually does the job just fine.

Selective Shopping

  • Look for products without packaging – tools, fresh produce, dry goods.
  • Avoid individually wrapped portions (cheese slices, juice, snacks, etc.).
  • Choose concentrated products in reusable containers
  • Buy the largest size container you will use.
  • Buy in bulk. Sometimes you can take your own plastic or other containers to the store to be filled directly with bulk goods.
  • Buy frozen foods in plastic bags rather than boxes. A 28-oz. bag of frozen corn is 59% less expensive and results in 98% less waste than buying the equivalent weight in single-serving 4.5 oz. boxes.
  • Choose rechargeable batteries and long-life bulbs.
  • Avoid disposable razors, pens, pencils, and lighters.
  • Buy recycled paper bathroom tissue, napkins, and paper towels.
  • Take your own mug or thermos to the coffee shop. Some shops will offer a discounted price when you provide your own container.
  • Avoid pump toothpaste – it is over-packaged and includes excess plastic.
  • When purchasing just one or two items, tell the clerk, “I don’t need a bag, thanks.”  (My personal favorite!)


With so many of us hitting the road over the holidays, here’s something easy you can do to save money and protect the environment. Did you know that poorly inflated tires increase fuel costs and emissions? That may not sound like a big deal, but it means that the average person who drives 12,000 miles yearly on under-inflated tires uses about 144 extra gallons of gas, at a cost of $300-$500 a year. And each time one of those gallons of gas is burned, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere as the carbons in the gas are released and combine with the oxygen in the air. In other words, any vehicle running on soft tires contributes as much as 1.5 extra tons (2,880 pounds) of greenhouse gases to the environment annually. So get those tires checked!

Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas
•For large or hard to wrap gifts, just add a bow instead of gift wrap.
•Wrap gifts in comics, newspaper, old clothes – whatever you can find!
•Wrap gifts in another gift – example: wrapping jewelry inside a scarf.
•Decorate brown packing paper with old cards, photos, pictures from catalogs, or your own artistic creations.
Gift Giving Ideas
•Send holiday e-cards instead of standard greeting cards.
•Look for gifts that have minimal or no packaging.
•For a non-material gift, donate in someone’s name, or buy tickets to an event or gift certificates for dinner or a massage.
•Shop at thrift stores for unique gift items or holiday decorations.
Party Waste Reduction Tips
•Use reusable tableware – if necessary, borrow some.
•Use cloth napkins.
•Place plenty of easily identifiable recycling bins around during your party.
After the holidays
•Save packing materials, wrapping and tissue paper, bows, ribbon, tags and gift bags for next year.
•Recycle your tree – Some communities collect trees to make mulch-check into your local program opportunities

Cloth Napkins – Here’s a simple experiment to conduct: Take a bag and toss in all the napkins you use in a week. You’ll be amazed at the amount of just this one type of trash you create. Now multiply that by all the people like you in the US.
Next, go shop the sales and buy some cloth napkins and a pretty basket or other container.  Mix and match. Pick a theme. Have a set for each season. Go crazy. Channel your inner Martha Stewart. After you’ve use them once (or twice), toss them in with the laundry you’d be doing anyway. Once you’ve made the switch, I promise, you’ll never look back! For more, see:
Close Those Garage Doors –  This tip is from one of our district parents, who noticed, while driving around, how many houses have open garage doors.  Think of an open garage door as just what is it – a giant hole that sucks warm air out of your home and lets cold drafts in.  This just makes your heating system have to work harder, which costs you more and wastes energy.  If  you have a room over your garage, there’s an extra impact. Even just a few minutes can make a big difference.  And, while we’re on the subject, the next time you are shopping for new doors, consider insulated doors.  They may cost a little more, but the cost savings over the lifetime may just be worth it.

Winter is not over yet.  Did you know that you can save 3 percent on your heating costs for every degree you reduce the temperature below 70 degrees F for the entire heating season? Here are some tips on heating your house.

  • Put on an extra sweater and drop the thermostat by a couple of degrees. You’ll barely notice. Wear closely woven fabrics and dress in layers to retain heat.
  • Turn down your thermostat at night or when you’re away for more than four hours during the day.
  • Turn it down even more when you go away for more than day (60 degrees or less). Do not turn off your heating system entirely as this may cause pipes to freeze.
  • When having company, turn down the thermostat before your guests arrive. Their collective body heat will warm up the room.

If you have a programmable thermostat, you can use the night, day, weekend, and vacation mode settings to do some of these things for you.

Keep in touch with nature…  Now that spring is here, it’s time to get reacquainted with the outdoors. After-school time used to involve catching fireflies, exploring the neighborhood woods, making mudpies, and just having a good time running around outside. This has changed dramatically in the digital age and children are less connected to nature, which can cause them to care less about its condition. Instead of plopping down in front of the T.V. or computer after school, encourage your kids get outside for an hour or two each day. Take a family walk after dinner, devote part of your weekends to outdoor-only activities like gardening, biking, and hiking, or start a nature club for your family. Studies have shown children who spend more time outside are less likely to suffer from obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder, and depression.

Recycling: Imagine yourself standing next to a trash can and holding a piece of trash you want to throw away.  Do you throw it on the ground or in the trash can? Either option is just as easy as the other, but clearly one is more desirable.
Now, imagine yourself standing next to a trash can and a recycling bin beside it, and holding an empty water bottle you want to throw away.  Since we’ve (hopefully) disqualified the ground as an option, do you throw it the trash can or the recycling bin? Again, either option is just as easy as the other, and again, one is more desirable.
Recycling saves resources and saves space in land fills, both of which save money.  Studies have shown that more than 60% of what ends up in trash bins can be recycled. No single person will fix the problem, but together, we can turn the tides.
For more on why recycling is important, see:

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