The NRRA School Recycling Club

Northeast Resource Recovery Association

School News You Can Use – December, 2015





christmasrecycling ornament




To All!








  • CLUB News – Welcome New Member from Texas!
  • In The News – America Recycles Day Success
  • Conference News – Call For Speakers
  • Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers
  • EPA & NHDES News – Be a Green Santa – Upcycle!
  • Activity – Creative Reuse of Paper
  • Green Calendar 


Click here to view PDF





Welcome Raiders! North Garland Raider pic


North Garland High School’s Key Club of Garland, Texas is the CLUB’s newest member and our first from the great state of Texas!

The Key Club is an international student-led organization which provides its members with opportunities to provide service, build character and develop leadership.

NGHS is also a proud partner in the AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination) offering an elective course for students preparing for college.

We look forward to helping NGHS advance their recycling program and posting their successes in future newsletters!


North Garland Coat of Arms pic

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Calling All Teachers!


Grants pic

NRRA Receives Funding for Waste Administration Training and Educational Resources

The Northeast Resource Recovery Association received $146,000 from the Rural Utilities Service Technical Assistance Grant Programs to work collaboratively with NRRA’s members and regional solid waste planning and education districts to reduce their overall solid waste stream and the toxicity of that stream.

NRRA is targeting specific counties in VT and NH to provide eligible communities within the regional areas with hands-on training, education and technical support in municipal solid waste management. The regional areas include Carroll, Coos, and Grafton counties in NH, and Bennington, Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, and Orleans counties in VT. All school districts, municipalities and solid waste district organizations can partake in the overall services offered by this program.

NRRA is seeking assistance from teachers and school administrators in the targeted regions with providing professional development workshops for in-service teachers, decision makers, and department professionals.

If you or your school is interested in assisting with this project, please contact NRRA’s School CLUB at


NRRA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination write, USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.



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NRRA CLUB applergclipped

Would you like to host a TOLD, Garbage Guerillas or another Workshop at your school? Let the CLUB Help!




  • Improves academic performance, especially in science and math
  • Can lead to financial savings for schools
  • Decreases the school’s carbon footprint through practical solutions that reduce energy and water consumption
  • Reduces school waste and conserves natural resources
  • Encourages student environmental awareness and stewardship
  • Increases parental involvement
  • Helps students and teachers develop stronger relationships with their communities

Previous EPA EE-funded research at over 200 New England schools completed by the NRRA School Recycling CLUB (the CLUB) found that the single most challenging area for school recycling programs was in providing curriculum integrations that brought recycling and sustainability into classrooms to be used as the subject matter for meeting state and local curriculum standards.  The intention of the CLUB programs is to address just that issue in schools across all six New England states. Our goal is to use the CLUB’s workshops and technical assistance programs, all experiential and hands on, as a tool for educating K-12 students about consumption, proper diversion of waste, the resulting impacts on climate change and what they can do to change it.  Through these offerings, we are also afforded the opportunity to link these priorities to curriculum standards.  In addition, these workshops will model, for educators or community leaders, exemplary ways of teaching in creative, effective, and efficient methods about human health threats from environmental pollution as well as how to minimize human exposure to preserve good health. Click here to learn more or contact us at or call 1.603.736.4401 ext. 19




File this under “Innovations!”


We found this through our friends at Waste360 who found it at

Epson unveils world’s first in-office paper recycling system

Waste paper goes in; 3 minutes later, sheets of new A4 paper come out—at 14 ppm!

by Sebastian Anthony – Dec 3, 2015 6:19am EST

Epson paper machine

The PaperLab, in all its understated glory.



Printer giant Epson has developed an in-office paper recycling machine. Called the PaperLab, you put waste paper in, and then new, bright white printer paper comes out. Epson says this process is more efficient than sending paper to an off-site recycling plant, and it’s also much more secure: the PaperLab, which breaks paper down into its constituent fibres before building them back up into new sheets, is one of the most secure paper shredders that money can buy.
The specs of the machine are truly impressive. Within three minutes of adding waste paper to the PaperLab, it starts pumping out perfectly white sheets of new paper. The system can produce around 14 A4 sheets of paper per minute, or 6,720 sheets in an eight-hour workday. The PaperLab can also produce A3 paper, and you can tweak the thickness and density of the paper as well: if you want really thin white paper, that’s cool; if you want thicker paper for business cards, it can do that too.
Epson says that the PaperLab is the world’s first paper production system to use a “dry process.” Paper-making processes usually require a lot of water, but the PaperLab requires only a tiny amount of water to “maintain a certain level of humidity inside the system,” so it doesn’t need to be plumbed into the mains. Presumably there’s a small tank of water that needs to be filled up occasionally—hopefully with normal tap water, not £50-per-litre Epson Purified PrintXL Water.
Epson PaperLab introductory video.
As for how the PaperLab actually works, Epson (unsurprisingly) doesn’t provide a whole lot of details. The key seems to be two processes: fiberising and binding. The fiberisation—the process of turning the waste paper back into its constituent long, thin cottony fibres—uses an “original mechanism,” which presumably means it’s patented and rather novel. How this is done without water, and in just a few seconds, we’re not sure. There could be some kind of reusable solvent? In any case, this first step completely destroys any data that may have been stored on the paper.
Updated: An Ars commenter found an Epson patent, published in 2013, that describes one method of mechanically “crushing and defibrating paper,” and then using a cyclone of air to de-ink the crushed paper bits.
The second process is binding, where the fibres are stitched back together again. Epson says that different binders can be added to the machine, to create a variety of different papers: coloured papers, flame resistant papers, bright-white papers, or even fragrant paper. Where the fiberisation stage might feature a reusable solvent, the binding liquid will certainly need to be topped up.


Epson Process

The standard paper life cycle on the left, vs. the PaperLab life cycle on the right.



Finally, during a pressure forming stage, the paper’s thickness, density, and size are decided.
That the PaperLab performs this process 14 times per minute is really quite awesome. Further, there could be some big energy and cost savings, both in terms of buying new paper, and the large amount of transportation involved in the usual recycling loop. Epson doesn’t actually provide the total cost of ownership of the PaperLab, though, nor its energy consumption, so it’s rather hard to say if the PaperLab is actually environmentally friendly—or just convenient.
The PaperLab will go on sale in Japan in 2016, with other regions possibly coming “at a later date.” Epson hasn’t said a word about price, but it’ll likely be very, very dear (think £50,000+). A prototype of the PaperLab will be demonstrated next week at the Eco-Products 2015 conference in Tokyo.



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From our friends at Resource Recycling


More than 1,500 events registered

for America Recycles Day



By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling
November 10, 2015
1500 event picA collection event in Indiana trading 10 single-use plastics bags for a reusable one. A recycling-message billboard design contest for middle schoolers in Georgia. An electronics repair cafe in Virginia. Those are just a few of the events that have been scheduled in celebration of the upcoming America Recycles Day.
Thousands of individuals have also signed a personal pledge to recycle more, and many have posted photos of themselves with an item they plan to recycle to enter a sweepstakes to win a refurbished iPad.
“It’s great to watch that momentum build and know that awareness is being raised for people, reminding them and encouraging them to recycle,” Brenda Pulley, senior vice president of recycling at Keep America Beautiful (KAB), told Resource Recycling.
The annual recycling awareness and action day is a program of KAB and takes place Nov. 15 each year. The theme of this year’s event, “Bathrooms, Bags and Gadgets,” aims to highlight recyclable items that are often overlooked and land in the garbage.
In line with this year’s theme, KAB has partnered with Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies to provide up to 10,000 bathroom recycling bags, Pulley said. The bags, themselves, are made with recycled content.
Each organizer of a bathroom-recycling-related event will receive at least 50 of the bags to distribute, Pulley said. They’ll be provided to organizers on a first-come-first-served basis. She’ll personally give some of them out during an event at the Cooper Park Houses public housing complex in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Saturday.
KAB has also partnered with CyclePoint from Source America to hold 50 e-scrap collection events around the country, she said.
Also, East Coast grocery chain Weis Markets will promote plastic bag and wrap recycling at each of its 165 stores. In total, more than 100 events related to plastic bag recycling will take place this year.
Pulley estimated about 2,000 events around the U.S. will ultimately be registered on, about on par with previous years.



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From our friends at Waste360


Nine Ways the Country Marked America Recycles Day


Nov 16, 2015
Chrissy Kadleck

Bathrooms, bags and gadgets were the theme of this year’s America Recycles Day (ARD), an annual event that took place this weekend.
A nationally recognized effort of Keep America Beautiful, ARD is the impetus 9 ways picfor hundreds of recycling activities throughout the country. It is celebrated on Nov. 15 each year. There were more than 1,500 registered events this year.
“Clearly America Recycles Day is taking that moment in time and raising visibility, awareness and as I like to say, celebrating recycling,” says Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “Recycling is not without its challenges so this year we wanted to highlight items that were easily recyclable but not necessarily ‘top of mind’.”
These include personal care items commonly found in the bathroom, like haircare and mouthwash bottles; plastic bags, such as those used at retail stores, and plastic wrap used in packaging paper towels, toilet paper or dry cleaning; and consumer electronics and gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets, game consoles, televisions and more. Pulley says while some of these items are not recycled curbside, they are highly recyclable.
“Take plastic bags. There are 18,000 locations listed right now on our website where you can drop them off to be recycled,” she says. “It’s our job to help educate people and share with them how they can be handled and to make it easy for them to recycle.”
Here is a slideshow of some of the special events that took place to celebrate of America Recycles Day: 9 Ways



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Tips for Your Tree . . .

Recycle Xmas Tree


We found these 3 wise links to help you recycle your holiday trees and wreaths:








 2016 Conference Date Set!

Radisson Castle pic


May 17, 2016


May 16 and 17, 2016! NRRA announces it 35th Anniversary Emerald Jubilee Conference …..“It’s Not Easy Being GREEN!!”  We are moving south from Manchester to Nashua, NH. The Castle is rolling out the emerald carpet for this very special, first in the nation conference and exposition. Stay tuned, as we ramp up even earlier than usual with workshop proposals and exhibit opportunities that cannot be missed. Once weKermit Its Not Easy Being Green (2) go live for registration I encourage all to sign up early to take advantage of the Early …Early Bird Discounts and the Special Value Package. The line-up for next spring will include Nationally Recognized Experts in this ever changing field and as usual, NRRA will be leading the way with the most up to date and cutting edge information you can use. You won’t want to miss this historic event.


The School CLUB will host our 7th Annual Conference on Tuesday, May 17.  By offering this annual event in May, we hope more students and teachers will be able to attend.  If there are specific workshops you would like to see, please let me know. We are already planning a number of activities, games, scavenger hunt and surprises to make this a memorable event.  Watch for details in future newsletters but mark your calendars now!


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Call for Speakers!megaphone



We have some great ideas for workshops we would like to offer in May – from recycling fundraisers to implementing a school composting plan to tips on opening a swap shop.


If you have any suggestions, we would love to hear them and if you are interested in being a speaker or workshop facilitator we would love to hear from you!

Our soft deadline is December 18 for your abstract.  However, in the spirit of the holidays, we can give you another week or so to put your abstract together.  Please contact Gwen Erley at or call 1.603.736.4401 ext. 19.




 Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers



 President’s Environmental Youth Award


PEYA pic

Program Updates

In Spring 2015, the PEYA program was updated. The award portion was expanded to include awards for two age groups. All qualified applicants will continue to receive a certificate.

PEYA has two parts — a regional award for Grades K-5 and a regional award for Grades 6-12. Applications are due December 31, 2015. A regional panel will review applications from each of EPA’s 10 regions. Up to two winners will be selected from each region – one for Grades K-5 and one for Grades 6-12. If a group of students is applying from a variety of grade levels, they should apply for the grade level of the oldest participant. For example, if a group of students in Grades 3, 5, 6 and 8 is applying for the award, the students should apply for the Grade 6-12 award.

Each award-winning project will receive a Presidential plaque. All qualified applicants will receive a certificate honoring them for their efforts to protect human health and the environment.


• Project is completed while the student(s) are in kindergarten through 12th grade.
• Student(s) are citizens of the United States or its territories or have been lawfully admitted for permanent residency.
• Project is sponsored by at least one adult.
• Sponsor must sign and date page A-2 of the application.
• Project must be summarized on the pages provided in the PEYA application form (no more than 300 words).

Here is the link for more information: PEYA Awards



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From our friends at



Do you have what it takes to score a $20,000 scholarship?

For the fifth consecutive year, Foot Locker will be awarding $20,000 college scholarships to outstanding student athletes who demonstrate exceptional academic ability and strong leadership skills in sports, school and within their communities.
As a new addition to the program this year, one of our twenty winners will also be selected for the Ken C. Hicks scholarship for demonstrating superior educational achievement, outstanding leadership, and a true love of the game. This winner will receive an additional $5000 award (for a total of $25,000).
Applications are due by 5pm EST on December 17, 2015.
For more information and to apply, go to:


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Team Earth Poster Contest


Having updated the Team Earth Program Manual, the CLUB is in search of a new poster that relects those revisions.  All CLUB artists are welcom to compete in the Team Earth Poster Contest (see below) that will run through April 15, 2016.


Team Earth Poster Contest Flyer



DEADLINE:  Email a picture of your entry to by Friday, April 15, 2016 to be eligible!


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 $$$$$$$$$$ Other School Grant Opportunities  $$$$$$$$$$

(Collected from NWF Eco-Schools Newsletter – August, 2015)|#schoolyardhabitats – Can list on site up to 4 months
Helps classrooms and students in need






GREENWorks Logo




November 2015


Be a Green Santa: Make and Buy Upcycled Gifts


Tired of giving mass produced and cheaply made holiday gifts? Do you wish that you could give something special to your loved ones – a one of its kind? Then give some thought to upcycled gifts!

Upcycling is taking an old item or discarded material and breathing new life Green santainto it by transforming it into something useful, perhaps creating a decoration or piece of art. By upcycling you are not only creating something new and exciting that could be given as a gift, many people have made upcycling their hobby and sell their creations for some extra cash.

Upcycling also benefits the environment by repurposing items rather than sending things to be landfilled or purchasing a new item only to add to the waste stream in the future. If you have never heard of upcycling before now, or have never tried a do-it-yourself repurposing project, this is the perfect time of year as upcycled gifts are the new rage. Not only can upcycled gifts be inexpensive (or even free) to make, they show that you truly care enough to put time and effort into creating something for your friends and family that is original, creative and useful.

Rather than heading to crowded malls and swamped parking lots, upcycling allows you to shop at home in your basement or attic, or maybe on the top shelf of your closet where items go and seem to never be found again. You could also check out your local thrift shop, consignment gallery, flea market, antiques store or transfer station swap shop for unique items or ideas. Upcycling has no rules and no limits on creativity. As people become more aware of their environmental impact and planned obsolescence of items, purchasing upcycled gifts from artists is becoming an alternative to finding creative and useful gifts. If you’re looking for inspiration, the internet can lead you to boundless ideas on how to repurpose almost anything.

So this holiday season, have some fun with upcycling. Regardless of whether you decide to create a clever gift from something you found in your basement or purchase an upcycled item from a local artisan, both will have a positive impact on our environment by reusing items that would have otherwise been tossed in the trash. And pass the word to your friends about upcycling. The more people reusing and repurposing items, the better!


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Here are some upcycling “before and after” examples we found through Pinterest and



Knife block before

Knife Blocks – Before









Knife Block Crayon Holder

Knife Block – Upcycled to Craft Station










wood crate before

Crates – Before






Wooden Crate Shelving

Crates – Upcycled to Colorful Shelving









vacume hose before

Vacuum Hose – Before













Vacume hose pinecone wreath

Vacuum Hose – Upcycled to Holiday Wreath














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Upcycle tip from The CLUB:

Rather than buying gifts that must be manufactured, packaged, stored and possibly end up in a landfill, you can always “upcycle” your time and energy for the holidays by making coupon books as gifts for your family and friends for chores like babysitting, bathing the dog, breakfast in bed, braiding hair, back scratches, etc.

Holiday coupon book


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From EPA WW & FRC Newsletter – Nov. 23, 2015

EPA Recognizes Governments, Organizations and Businesses for Outstanding Waste Reduction Efforts, 11/13/15
Congratulations to our New England National winners



EPA FRC Rethink logo



Food Recovery Challenge
Colleges and Universities: Salem State University, Salem, MA (data driven award)
Source Reduction Honorable Mention: Clark University dining services managed by Sodexo, Worcester, MA
Education and Outreach Winner: Keene State College, Keene, NH
2014WasteWise logo_color_voluntaryWasteWise
College and University Honorable Mention: Clark University, Worcester, MA
Non-profit Organization Winner: Cannon Grange #152, Wilton, CT

View the National press release:!OpenDocument



2015 Regional Food Recovery Achievement Certificates
The following 24 New England organizations are receiving a “Regional Food Recovery Achievement Certificate” for their work reducing food waste:

Connecticut: Wesleyan University, Middletown; Whole Foods Market, Danbury; Whole Food Market, Westport

Massachusetts: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Big Y, headquartered in Springfield; BJs Wholesale Club, headquartered in Westborough; Boston Organics, Boston; Fairview Hospital (of Berkshire Hospital Systems), Great Barrington; Genzyme, a Sanofi Company, Cambridge and Framingham; Lesley University, Cambridge; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Buzzards Bay; Northeastern University, Boston;
Signature Bread, Chelsea; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Wellesley College, Wellesley

Maine: Colby College, Waterville; University of Maine, Farmington; University of Maine, Orono; University of Southern Maine, Portland

New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire, Durham

Rhode Island: Johnson & Wales University in Providence

Vermont: Stratton Mountain Resort, Stratton

Thanks to all our New England Food Recovery Challenge participants! New England Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted over 38,000 tons of food to donation and/or composting in 2014.

Not yet a Food Recovery Challenge participant? Consider joining! To find out more, go to:






We were researching ways to reuse paper – specifically wrapping paper – and found these excellent ideas:



Origami Swan


 Origami Swan


The first video gives instructions about how to make the “building blocks” and the second video shows you how to build the swan or anything else you can think of.

Building Blocks:

Swan Construction:



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More uses for scrap paper!  We found this on Pinterest . . .


3D Snowflake


 Pinterest Star


with instructions through Wikihow:  3D Paper Snowflake

3D Snowflake pic


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And this from AllFreePaperCrafts

Mini Stars



Tiny paper stars



Folded Paper Stars
By: Ann from All Things Paper
2013-09-04 15:43:28

If you like to wish upon a star, you should check out this origami project. With this simple tutorial, you can make Folded Paper Stars that serve as perfect decorations for just about anything. Grab your favorite color paper for this easy project. Learn how to make origami stars that you can string on a thread to make a bracelet or hang from the ceiling to decorate your room. This DIY paper craft is great for anyone who is interested in getting started in the art of folding paper. This is also a fun craft to try with your kids.

Folded Paper Stars
This image courtesy of
Estimated Cost: Under $10
Time to complete: Under an hour
Primary Technique: Origami

Occasion/Theme: Christmas
Project or Page Size: 8.5 inches x 11 inches
Type of Paper Used: Construction Paper
Click Here For The Full Project









03/22/16 – World Water DayTo plan your event,  visit

04/07/16 – Vermont Organics Recycling Summit – Held at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT; for more info, visit:

04/22/16 – Earth DayTo plan your event, see future newsletters and visit

04/29/16 – Arbor Day – To plan your event,  visit

05/17/16 – NRRA School CLUB Conference – Come join us in celebrating NRRA’s 35th Anniversary at the Radisson in Nashua! Details coming in future newsletters.  

06/05/16 – World Environment Day – To plan your event,  visit

06/08/16 – World Oceans Day – To plan your event,  visit




And to all, a safe, happy

and green holiday season!


GreenHoliday earth ornament






mailboxWHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL CLUB UP TO? The NRRA School CLUB always loves to hear what its members and other schools are doing to recycle and help the environment so we can share it through our newsletter. There are so many different things being done, and you are our best source of information about what is working in your school. It can be a new program, a long-term project that’s been proven over time, a field trip, etc. Always feel free to contact me or submit something and you may see it in the next School News You Can Use! – Gwen Erley, 1-603-736-4401 Ext. 19