The NRRA School Recycling Club

Northeast Resource Recovery Association

School News You Can Use – December, 2016

Courtesy of USDA Forest Service

Courtesy of USDA Forest Service





  • CLUB Conference News Save The Date!
  • CLUB News – Hollis Brookline Senior Takes Action
  • Grant & SWIP News -Recycling Webinar for Teachers
  • In The News – Bartz Bros. Colossal Snow Sculptures
  • Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers – Schoolyard Action Grants
  • EPA & NHDES News – Soak Up the Rain
  • Activity – Easy Holiday Decorations


Click here to view PDF



Plan Ahead for the School CLUB Conference!






We have a theme:  Back to the Future for Recycling..It’s Time

and we have a date:  Tuesday, May 23, 2017

and we have a location:  The Radisson in Manchester, NH


Mark your calendars for this important recycling event and expo! Be prepared for activities, workshops, games, exhibits and a lot of FUN!


Remember, NH schools may apply for Conference Registration Grants throughNHtB Logo Green NH the Beautiful!






Click HERE to go to our 2017 Conference Page!




Hollis Brookline Senior Takes Action

Hollis Brookline High School just joined The CLUB in August and we are proud to report that one of their Seniors, Allie Campbell, has started her own environmental blog:

She provided a short biography:

“Growing up in Montessori schools, I spent a lot of time outside—at recess, allie-dogduring lessons, on school trips, and after school. This instilled in me a passion for the outdoors which grew into the desire to protect and give back.

I am currently a senior at Hollis Brookline High School. Last fall, I collaborated with school staff to create the “Green Group” (a student environmental club) and helped to initiate a school wide recycling program. Up until last year, HBHS was not recycling at all, so this was a very exciting step for our community.

As an elective course this year, I am working on an independent study I am calling “Society and the Environment”. I am currently collaborating with the Northeast Resource Recovery Association and a local director of waste management to create a plastic film recycling program for my town, Hollis, New Hampshire. My hope is to raise awareness regarding the issue of plastic film waste, make recycling plastic film practical for Hollis residents, and to ultimately establish a permanent program that will divert significant quantities of plastic film waste from landfills. In addition, I started a blog ( with the aim of inspiring and empowering others to make more sustainable choices in their everyday lives, as well as record and publicise the progress of the plastic film recycling program.”

We were inspired by her story and hope it will inspire our readers!











Free Webinar for Recycling Educators!


Webinar pic

Through generous USDA funding, NRRA has implemented a Train-the-Teacher model that assists economically challenged schools avail themselves of the quality programming NRRA’s School CLUB offers. Once trained, participants will receive the tools to do their own programming and to integrate students and local facility staff into the overall program.

All educators who take part in NRRA’s Train the Teachers webinar program, will receive the corresponding classroom workshop power points and the revised Teaching Toxics (Creating Solutions to Household Pollution) and Teacher’s Resource Guide (3 R’s of the Common Core) curricula that has been aligned with the Common Core Standards. We offer ninety-six (96) positive, fun and hands-on lesson plans and classroom activities about environmental protection, pollution prevention, and stewardship!

By addressing the topic of what is being thrown away with household trash, students in the classroom learn about an integral component of increasing the public’s awareness of hazardous, recyclable, and compostable products. The success in teaching these issues lies in presenting the information in a way that empowers students.

Educators may view the hour-long webinar training 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.





BCSWA School & Business Outreach


Bennington County Map

BCSWA contracted NRRA and the School CLUB to provide outreach and training to schools and businesses in the Alliance area regarding Vermont’s Universal Recycling Act 148.

We are currently reaching out to Alliance schools to provide this free programming.  Contact BCSWA or the School CLUB if you would like to get on the schedule.

The Bennington County Solid Waste Alliance serves the communities of:  Arlington, Bennington, Dorset, Glastenbury, Manchester, Pownal, Rupert, Sandgate, Searsburg, Shaftsbury, Stamford, Sunderland and Woodford, VT.

Business outreach will resume in 2017.

The Alliance website is up and running and full of useful links. Here is the link to the Alliance Webpage. They also have their own School Newsletter!


Scheduling Now

Free Workshops Available for BCSWA Schools

workshop clipart


Outreach to the Alliance schools continues for this school year. BCSWA schools interested in receiving FREE programming for the next school year should contact: to get on the calendar.








NRRA CLUB applergclipped

Would you like to host a TOLD, Garbage Guerrillas 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
Milford Told-EC-Set up pic

School CLUB set up for TOLD event

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




Bartz Brothers of Minnesota Colossal Snow Sculptures


We just had to share these pictures of the snow sculptures that the Bartz Brothers, of New Brighton, Minnesota, create each year.  Here are the pictures from their Facebook page in a gallery:




We’re hoping this will inspire students to create something from snow – a free, and often plentiful, natural resource in New England!  This year the Bartz Brothers are using their sculptures to raise money for clean water in Haiti! As it says on their web page, “You don’t make life memories playing video games.”

To learn more, go to their Facebook Page or their YouTube page.








Recycling Your Holiday Greens


natl-xmas-tree-assn-logoFrom our friends at the National Christmas Tree Association





Real Christmas Trees are Recyclable

After the holidays, don’t throw your Real Christmas Tree in the trash or set it on the curb. Real Christmas Trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes. Here are some recycling options and tips on what to do with your tree after the holidays. Every community is different, but in general, you have these options:

removing-your-tree-blockCurbside pick-up for recycling: Many providers will collect trees during regular pickup schedules on the two weeks following Christmas.  There are often requirements for size, removing ornaments, flocking, etc.

Take your tree to a drop-off recycling center: Most counties have free drop-off locations. Usually, you may take up to two trees to a drop-off location at no charge.

Yard waste: Cut the tree to fit loosely into your yard waste container.

Tree recycling/mulching programs: Tree recycling and mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. Check with your local department of public works for information. They chip and shred the trees, then make the mulch available for use in your garden.  Your hauler will notify you of pick-up dates in your area. Be sure to check with your local hauler.

Nonprofit pickup: Call for an appointment to have a nonprofit organization in your area pickup your tree. Some Boy Scout troops offer a pickup service for a small donation (often $5).

Other Recycling Options

Soil erosion barriers: Some communities use Christmas trees to make effective sand and soil erosion barriers, especially for lake and river shoreline stabilization and river delta sedimentation management.  Christmas trees helped the sand dunes in New Jersey recover from Hurricane Sandy.

Fish feeders: Sunk into private fish ponds, trees make an excellent refuge and feeding area for fish.

Bird feeders: Place the Christmas tree in the garden or backyard and use it as a bird feeder and sanctuary. Fresh orange slices or strung popcorn will attract the birds and they can sit in the branches for shelter. (Make sure all decorations, hooks, garland and tinsel strands are removed).  Eventually (within a year) the branches will become brittle and you can break the tree apart by hand or chip it in a chipper.

Mulch: A Christmas tree is biodegradable; its branches may be removed, chipped, and used as mulch in the garden.

Paths for hiking trails: Some counties use shredded trees as a free, renewable and natural path material that fits both the environment and the needs of hikers.

Living, rooted trees: Get a rooted (ball and burlap or containerized) tree and plant it in your yard. (It’s a good idea to dig the hole in the late fall while the soil is still soft, then plant the tree into that hole immediately after Christmas.) Living trees have a better survival rate in mild climates.

Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.

For more tips and information, go to National Christmas Tree Association page.






And what to do with those packing peanuts?

Here are some tips from our friends at

NRRA Archive

NRRA Archive

  • The easiest solution is to drop them off at shipping stores like MailBoxes, Etc., or offer them up to any business that does a lot of shipping. Call ahead to make sure they’ll accept the peanuts. You can also list them on Craigslist or Freecycle in the hopes that someone has a lot of shipping to do and wants to save cash.
  • My favorite reuse idea, which I’ve already done in my backyard, is to place the peanuts in the bottom of potted plants. They provide drainage but don’t add weight to the planter like rocks or gravel.
  • Stuff them in a sealed plastic bag and layer over the ice in an ice chest. They provide great insulation.
  • Use them to hold brad and finish nails in place so you don’t smash your fingers when hammering. After a few taps, simply pull the peanut away.

For the full article, click HERE.

Our friends at also had some ideas:

  1. Hold Nails In Place
  1. Apply Sticky Stuff
  1. Buffer Sharp Blades


For the complete list of ten, click HERE.


From our Friends at Resource Recycling News


Resource Recycling’s holiday gift guide


Posted on  December 6, 2016

by Editorial Staff

Black Friday has come and gone, but chances are you still have holiday shopping to do. Why not get your loved ones gifts made from recycled materials?

Check out these ideas from us here at Resource Recycling. From toys to handbags to kitchen knives, all the products are made with recycled content. They were each featured in print editions of Resource Recycling magazine.

Click HERE to view these gift ideas.





Interested in green cleaning?  If you would like to host a workshop in your school, please consider The CLUB’s Healthy Home, Clean Waters Workshop or our Technical Assistance Training for facilities staff on Green Cleaning & Indoor Air Quality Evaluation & Review. 



Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers



NH  Schoolyard Action Grants


Now Accepting Applications

Deadline January 30


Photo by Sara Hiland, Goodlife Photography

Do you have an outdoor classroom you want to expand?

Are you considering starting an outdoor classroom?

A NH Schoolyard Action Grant can support your planning, implementation, and curriculum development for engaging students in schoolyard studies.

The grant period for this opportunity is open now through January 30th. 

This is NH Audubon’s second year offering schoolyard grants with New England Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife. Now called the New Hampshire Partnership for Schoolyard Action Grants, we are pleased to announce our new expanded partnership with New Hampshire Project Learning Tree and NH Fish and Game Project HOME.

We have joined efforts to support schools that want to achieve the benefits of nature-based studies for student development and learning. Our common goals are to nurture future environmental stewards by connecting kids with their local environment and to enliven learning through nature.

One benefit of the partnership is a new common application process. Applicants will only have to fill out one form and will be eligible for grants from all the organizations in the partnership. In addition, the partners will review the applications as a team.

The grant deadline is January 30. Grants are available to any school teaching Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Please visit our website for details.


Questions about the grant and qualifying projects may be directed to Hilary Chapman, NH Audubon Education Department.


[Learn more…]


84 Silk Farm Road

Concord, NH 03301

(603) 224-9909















Deadline Nears for Public Voting on Paradigm Challenge



The Paradigm Challenge was created by Project Paradigm, a private foundation, in collaboration with American Red Cross

$100,000 Challenge

What is the Paradigm Challenge?

The Paradigm Challenge is an annual competition that inspires youth to use STEM skills plus kindness, creativity, and collaboration to make a difference.  The 2016-17 Challenge aims to generate new ideas to reduce waste in homes, schools, communities, and around the world.

  • Ages 4-18
  • Ideas to Reduce Waste (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)
  • Deadline: May 1, 2017

Mini-Contests – up to $500 – Acts of Kindness

  • Create a video, poem, story, drawing, photograph, or anything else that captures one of your acts of kindness.
  • Upload your entry (or entries) to tell the world about your kindness. Then ask friends, family, and everyone else you know to vote for your entry. The entry and voting deadline for the current public voting contest is December 31, 2016.
  • WIN! The 10 entries with the most votes will win cash prizes up to $500!

Public Voting Contests

Project Paradigm will host different public voting contests to help raise awareness about waste and to promote The Paradigm Challenge. Youth will create and submit a contest entry and ask friends and family to vote.  The 10 entries with the most votes will receive cash prizes up to $500.


  • Three Ambassadors (along with a parent or guardian) will win a 4-day/3-night trip to Los Angeles to attend The Paradigm Challenge Prize Ceremony.
  • Ambassadors will compete in three age divisions: Ages 4 to 8 Ages 9 to 13Ages 14 to 18.
    The top Ambassador in each age division will win the trip to Los Angeles.
  • The first 100 Ambassadors to earn at least 100 points will receive an official Challenge Ambassador t-shirt. All Ambassadors who collect at least 50 points will receive a Challenge Ambassador Certificate.


Educator Teams can win grants up to $5,000





 Nashua Recycling Center 2017 Calendar Contest


The competition is over and the calendar has been printed.   The theme for 2017 was “Don’t Waste the Landfill…RECYCLE.”

There were 437 entrees!  Congratulations to all the competitors and to the 12 winning entries!

nashua-recycling-centerWe hope to have a picture for you by the next issue.









From our friends at EPA

New application period for PEYA program



PEYA logoApplications are now being accepted for the next round of the President’s Environmental Youth Award ( Applications are due March 1, 2017.

The PEYA program promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement, through recognizing outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. The award celebrates student leadership in protecting the environment and building a livable, sustainable global community. Recent award winning projects included activities such as:

  • creating a new eco-friendly fertilizer;
  • fighting deforestation;
  • educating communities on the need to protect various animal species;
  • restoring and conserving local habitats;
  • promoting community gardening;
  • promoting recycling and other waste reduction methods in schools and communities;
  • banning polystyrene (Styrofoam);
  • researching the impact of energy consumption methods;
  • analyzing the impact of solar panel installation;
  • inventing a new water pollution mitigation method;
  • educating communities on water conservation; and
  • analyzing storm water flow and flood risk.





From our friends at EPA

PEYA Teacher Awards

Teacher award applications now being accepted


Apply now for the Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (, which recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning.

Award winners receive up to $2,500 to continue their professional development in environmental education. Additionally, the teacher’s local education agency will receive up to $2,500 to fund environmental educational activities and programs. Learn about the creative work of our previous award winners (

Applications are due March 1, 2017.




Other School Grant Opportunities


(Collected from NWF Eco-Schools Newsletter)|#schoolyardhabitats – Can list on site up to 4 months
Helps classrooms and students in need offers many ways to earn scholarship money.







Soak Up the Rain


Polluted runoff is one of the greatest threats to clean water in the U.S.

Polluted runoff is one of the greatest threats to clean water in the U.S.

As we develop our cities and towns, we replace forests and meadows with buildings and pavement. And now when it rains, stormwater runs off roofs and driveways into the street, picking up pollutants as it makes its way through storm drains and ditches – untreated – to our streams, rivers, lakes and the ocean.

Soak Up the Rain is a stormwater public outreach campaign to raise awareness about the problem of polluted stormwater runoff and to encourage citizens, municipalities and others to take action to help reduce runoff and its costly impacts. Learn what you can do to soak up the rain.







From our Friends at EPA



K-12 SCrAP Program

(School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project)


scrap-program-picCalling All K-12 Schools: Join the Fight to Reduce Food Waste


You may have recently heard about the School Cafeteria Discards Assessment Project (SCrAP) that is being conducted nationwide to gather data that would aid in significantly reducing the food waste in schools. The Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF)—a non-profit organization that funds and directs scientific research and educational initiatives for waste management practices—in collaboration with the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), is requesting the help of elementary, middle and high schools, as well as K-12 institutions, across the United States to gather data to quantify both school waste and related waste, such as packaging, containers, etc. The SCrAP project will gather information on the quantity of waste generated in school cafeterias and obtain an understanding of how this waste is managed both at the school and after it is hauled away.

In addition to valuable data, SCrAP could provide benefits to schools, such as:

  • Educating students/school staff regarding more sustainable waste management strategies
  • Reducing unnecessary food waste
  • Reducing food costs to schools
  • Developing ways to better handle institutional waste

Joining the fight against food waste is as easy as 1, 2, 3…

  1. Sign your school up as a participant in the programs by visiting
  2. Select your school’s participation level:
  • Purple (Questionnaire Only): The basic level of participation involves answering a questionnaire    about the school’s waste management practices.
  • Blue (Questionnaire & Weight Measurements): The second level includes completing the questionnaire, as well as weighing the cafeteria waste bins 3 to 5 times. Each weight measurement activity usually takes about 30 minutes and can be done either during or after the lunch period.
  • Gold (Questionnaire & A Few More Weight Measurement): The third level is the same as the Blue level except you agree to measure cafeteria waste bins 6 to 10 times. Doing just a few extra measurements provides much more useful information, such as understanding how much the waste stream changes during the school year and whether different menu items affect how much waste is created.
  1. Complete the questionnaire (and schedule measurement activities depending on your level of participation).

SCrAP participants will receive waste-related educational materials for the classroom, a snapshot report tailored for your school (Blue and Gold levels) and the chance to win money to support your school, up to a maximum of $1,500.

For more information or to register your school, please visit the EREF website or download the flyer. You can also view a video about the program and one on how to get involved.

Andrea Northup,  Farm to School Regional Lead

Mountain Plains Region, USDA Food and Nutrition Service

(303) 844-4417


Sign up for our USDA Farm to School E-letter for updates about grants, news, resources, and more!





2014WasteWise logo_color_voluntary

National WasteWise Award Winners 2016


Awards and Award Winners

Recognition is a key element of the Sustainable Materials Management Program and WasteWise. EPA is pleased to recognize the following organizations for their outstanding leadership in waste prevention and diversion.


2016 WasteWise Award Winners


  • Very Large Business, Partner of the Year: Oracle Americas, Inc.
  • Large Business, Partner of the Year: Commonwealth Edison Company
  • Mid-Size Business, Partner of the Year: Frito Lay, Beloit, Wisconsin Facility
  • Small Business, Partner of the Year: Earth Friendly Products
  • Federal Government, Partner of the Year: Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
  • Local Government, Partner of the Year: City of Chesapeake Garage
  • College/University, Partner of the Year: University of Massachusetts Medical School


EPA’s WasteWise encourages organizations and businesses to achieve sustainability in their practices and reduce select industrial wastes.  WasteWise is part of EPA’s sustainable materials management efforts, which promote the use and reuse of materials more productively over their entire lifecycles.

To learn more, go to WasteWise Fact Sheet.







EPA FRC Rethink logo



As part of EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, organizations pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results. The FRC is part of EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management Program (SMM). SMM seeks to reduce the environmental impact of materials through their entire life cycle. This includes how they are extracted, manufactured, distributed, used, reused, recycled, and disposed.

To learn more, go to:  EPA FRC






Easy Holiday Decorations You Can Make


From our Friends at AllFreeHoliday

Fabulous Wreath from Toilet Paper Rolls


By: Jamie Seibert from

Updated October 07, 2016


This image courtesy of

Recycled cardboard has never looked so good. If you’re looking for simple homemade Christmas decorations to make this winter, you should learn how to make a Christmas wreath like this. Don’t worry, the Fabulous Wreath from Toilet Paper Rolls is deceptively simple to make. Plus, toilet paper roll crafts are a great way to be eco-friendly with your crafting. Follow these easy instructions and before you know it you’ll have a gorgeous Christmas wreath adorning your living room wall. Don’t hang your DIY wreath made from toilet paper rolls outside because it won’t be waterproof!

Estimated Cost: Under $10

Time to Complete: In an evening

Materials: Paper, Recycled Materials

Primary Technique: Florals/Wreaths

Holiday: Christmas

Materials List

  • As many toilet paper and paper towel rolls you can collect
  • A ruler, preferably clear with easy guidelines
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue gun

For complete instructions, go to:  How to Make the Fabulous Wreath from Toilet Paper Rolls






From our friends at


Most Beautiful Medallion Paper Snowflakes


By: ChiWei Ranck from

Updated November 14, 2016

This image courtesy of

This image courtesy of


Make a gorgeous detailed paper snowflake this season. The Most Beautiful Medallion Paper Snowflakes are intricate paper crafts for Christmas or winter. If you want to learn how to make a paper snowflake step by step, you are in the right place! These snowflakes are so impressive when you unfold them, and they can be used for a variety of purposes! Hang several in your home to emulate the snow outside or turn them into Christmas ornaments for your tree. Use your imagination! Paper snowflakes are awesome crafts for winter.


Estimated Cost: Under $10

Time to complete: Under an hour

Primary Technique: General Paper Crafting

Occasion/Theme: Winter

Project or Page Size: 8.5 inches x 11 inches

Click here for the free paper project



GREEN CALENDARclipart green calendar




03/22/17 – World Water Day – To plan your event,  visit

04/22/17 – Earth Day – To plan your event, see future newsletters and visit

04/28/17 – Arbor Day – To plan your event,  visit

05/22/17 – NRRA’s 36th Annual Recycling Conference & Expo Begins

05/23/17 – School CLUB’s 8th Annual School Recycling Conference (the Conference within the Conference); Registration assistance available for NH schools through NH the Beautiful.

06/05/17 – World Environment Day – To plan your event,  visit

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





Happy Holidays Everyone! See You Next Year!


We found this adorable Minions YouTube Video for you to enjoy. Click or enter this link:




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