The NRRA School Recycling Club

Northeast Resource Recovery Association

School News You Can Use – January, 2016



Happy NY 2

Happy NY 3




  • Conference News – Call For Speakers
  • CLUB News – Welcome Bennington, VT Schools
  • In The News – Goats Clean Up
  • Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers – PEYA Deadline Extended
  • EPA & NHDES News –  EPA Educational Resources (+Games)
  • Activity – Pop Top Capsules
  • Green Calendar 


Click here to view PDF





 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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Does your school have an innovative/successful recycling or composting program? Would you like to share this information with other schools & students? 

Call for Speakers – Extension!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!


We have extended our deadline to January 22 for your abstract.   Please send to Gwen Erley at or call 1-603-736-4401 Ext. 19.








Welcome Bennington County VT Schools!

BCSWA Awards Outreach Program to NRRA/School CLUB


Bennington County Map

Courtesy of

The CLUB is pleased to announce that we have been selected to provide outreach and assistance to the 25 schools in Bennington County Vermont on behalf of their Solid Waste Alliance.  The goal is to assist the Bennington County schools to be in compliance with Vermont’s Universal Recycling Law – Act 148.


The Alliance represents the towns of Arlington, Bennington, Dorset, Glastenbury, Manchester, Pownal, Rupert, Sandgate, Searsburg, Shaftsbury, Stamford, Sunderland and Woodford.  We will be reaching out to offer free CLUB membership to all schools, with workshops and technical assistance offered to a select 2-3 schools this year based on our survey results.


We are excited to add a special section to future issues of our CLUB newsletter to highlight Bennington Schools as part of the Alliance program and as new CLUB members! Welcome aboard!




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Grants picNRRA 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.







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





Goats Recycle Xmas Trees


goats recycle Xmas pic


From our friends at Waste360



SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – With Christmas over, it’s time to ditch those decorative trees. While many end up on the curb, in San Francisco there’s one place where you can take your tree to be eaten.
City Grazing, in the city’s Bayview District, is happy to accept your un-flocked, untreated Christmas tree so that their herd of 80 goats can chow down on those discarded conifers.  The SF-based goat landscaping business is partnering with the SF Fire Department for the second year on the tree-recycling program.
“You get to enjoy watching the goats nibble on your Christmas tree. It’s a great way to make it full circle,” says Genevieve Church from City Grazing.  Not much is left behind— the goats even gnaw the bark off, leaving just the skeleton of the tree behind. The trees help the goats as a natural de-wormer.  By virtue of being goats they leave behind a beneficial fertilizer. If you’re lucky, you might even see them fight over their delicious holiday treat.  “It is a bit of a feeding frenzy. If they get really excited, they’ll shove each other out of the way and they get very enthusiastic about the trees,” Church says.  During the rest of the year, the goats make their living clearing brush, backyards and fire hazards around the Bay Area.  “They love their work,” says Church. “They eat for a living.”



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From our friends at the Container Recycling Institute (CRI)

December 7, 2015


Caps can play a part in cleaning water, not just bottling it

Michael A. Marcotte Alex Fassbender, CEO of EcoVia Corp., says that old plastic bottle caps can be used as part of a wastewater treatment system.

Alex Fassbender, CEO of EcoVia Corp., says that old plastic bottle caps can be used as part of a wastewater treatment system.


By Jim Johnson

Itasca, Ill. — Alex Fassbender wants your used plastic bottle caps. He has a plan. The CEO of EcoVia Corp., and a self-described inventor, has developed an approach that uses existing wastewater treatment technology and incorporates used bottle caps to help in the cleaning process. “I was walking in the grocery store and I looked down this aisle,” Fassbender remembered. “I just saw all these bottle caps and I just started thinking, ‘Look at these things,’” he said.  “They are exactly the right shape, the right size, the same material, everything. So why not?” he said.



biofilm cap pic

CapBiome Biofilm at Work

After some real-world testing and patent filing, he’s now out trying to drum up interest, and bottle caps, for his CapBiome business. Wastewater treatment relies on bacteria for decomposition and cleaning, Fassbender said at the recent Plastics Caps & Closures 2015 conference in Itasca. He sees a system that uses post-consumer caps as a substrate at wastewater treatment plants that allow for the growth of the bacteria. “It’s basically using post-consumer caps and closures to grow bacteria biofilms. High-value upcycling of this product. We don’t need to clean it. We don’t need to grind it. You just need to collect and use as is. And if it’s dirty and scummy and loaded with budding biofilm, all the better,” he said.
Used caps can serve as a cost-effective alternative to other materials used as substrates at certain wastewater treatment plants, such as gravel, to allow the biofilm to grow, Fassbender said.  “Biofilm is omnipresent. It’s everywhere. Any place it’s humid, wet, you can actually grow biofilm. They are very complex communities of microorganisms. They lock on to surfaces and they create little biofilm towns. And that’s basically how we can use these biofilms,” he said.
Picture giant treatment tanks filled with plastic caps. Wastewater is cycled in and out of these tanks allowing the biofilm a chance to grow and do its job both in water and in the air. The caps, Fassbender said, can be periodically cleaned and used over again.  He told attendees of the conference, organized by Plastics News, that his small. Vienna, Va.-based company is looking at sourcing both bottle caps and investors in the fledging approach.  The idea of using a substrate, including different plastic products already on the market, to host the growth of bacteria in wastewater treatment plants is not new, Fassbender said. The idea of dropping the cost and finding a new use for old bottle caps is what’s unique to his vision, he said.
“I need reliable sourcing of these kinds of materials, so that when I get an order I can fill it,” he said about post-consumer caps. “I need several operating units up and running and I think at that point we’ll get published in the journals where you need to get published and then we’ve got a marketable product.”  Fassbender estimated his idea requires a cubic meter of used caps to handle the waste water of two to five people per day.



He said his approach is “something that is sort of on the edge of imagination.”  “Caps and closures, as you know are just very useful, ubiquitous products however they have a down side. They are part of the plastic pollution problem that is out there. It’s everywhere and it’s growing and it’s a menace. It’s a menace to the environment and it’s a menace to your industry,” he said. “To keep your fantastic industry going strong, we need to find solutions to this ugly problem.”



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Speaking of bottle caps . . .



A playful twist on bottle caps


By Kari Embree
Published: December 15th, 2015
We’ve all asked ourselves that million dollar question when finishing our plastic water bottles: to remove, or not to remove when recycling? After all, plastic tops have a varied composition and can be problematic to recycle since plastic caps are typically made from plastic #5 while the bottles they accompany are made from #2. These two types of plastic melt at different temperatures during the recycling process so plastic closures need special processing.
TOPO picVeteran UK inventor Willy Johnson has found a solution to this plastic dilemma with his invention ToPo, a plastic bottle top that converts into a toy brick, similar to Lego, but bigger. The bricks can be joined together to make towers and shapes. So, instead of throwing away our screw top bottle caps, we can replace them with ToPo, and children—especially those in the Third World who lack toys—will get a free, educational toy. Johnson has patented ToPo in the UK and here in the United States.
Topo bottle tops can join together in two horizontal dimensions but can also lock together vertically to create all kinds of shapes from cars to birds and from planes to houses. With the alphabet, numbers and symbols, any amount of games can be played.
Johnson worked closely with The Renfrew International Group who have made prototypes and have confirmed that existing production machinery would only need minor adjustments to switch to making Topo bottle tops. Johnson expects to start with round Topos as they will require only a minimal change to the production tools and machinery.
A US Design Patent application and US Federal Trademark applications have been filed, giving ‘complete commercial protection against copyists for this product’ in the opinion of Johnson’s US patent attorneys.



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From our Friends at the National Wildlife Federation


NWF Photo Contest Winner – 2015

NWF 1st place pic

Ian Murray Nova Scotia, Canada Baby Animals, First Place



To see all the winning entries, click here.



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From our friends at Resource Recycling


Ten Thousand Sets New Apparel Environmental Benchmark with One In One Out


By 2ReWear
Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:12 AM

Active wear apparel company, Ten Thousand, launches an innovative line of simply focused clothing that sets a new environmental benchmark, providing recycling services with their One In One Out program powered by 2ReWear. With each purchase on, consumers are invited to recycle their workout wear in an environmentally responsible way and earn a 10% discount on their next order at Ten Thousand.
“2ReWear is proud to power Ten Thousand’s recycling initiative and we hope to see the One In One Out concept spread rapidly to all apparel lines,” said Eric Stubin, 2ReWear CEO. The fashion industry generates 30 billion pounds of textiles each year and 85% of those textiles are thrown out. The average American trashes 81 pounds of textiles each year, which equates to 25 billion pounds of textiles sent to landfills annually. Current textile recycling efforts in the U.S. only capture 15% of what could have recycled. The need to close the loop on textiles and post-consumer waste has never been greater. “Ten Thousand’s founders showed incredible foresight by weaving an apparel recycling component into their company from the start,” stated Stubin.
“Our apparel isn’t designed to make you stand out in a crowd, and it’s not designed for post-workout selfies. Our apparel is designed to disappear—to become one with your training, and never let you down,” Keith Nowak, Ten Thousand Co-Founder. Founders Nowak and Eugenio Labadie started the Ten Thousand because they were frustrated by constant turnover in styles that they found wasteful and confusing.
As athletes, Nowak and Labadie found themselves confronted with an overwhelmed active wear market with poorly crafted random apparel. The two envisioned a simplified, purpose-driven design for active wear. The result of their collaboration is a streamlined selection of training essentials that meet the performance needs for all athletes. Nowak and Labadie worked for one year to develop the current Ten Thousand line.



Ten Thousand is an innovative company producing training essential active wear, built on simplicity and focus. Ten Thousand brings a new performance protocol with sportswear that is designed to integrate into training. Offering a revolutionary One In One Out apparel recycling program to all their consumers. To learn more about Ten Thousand visit .
2ReWear is a provider of textile recycling services and a registered public benefit corporation and. Our mission is to keep post-consumer waste out of landfills while assisting reputable causes. 2ReWear principals and their parent corporations Whitehouse & Schapiro, LLC and Trans-Americas Textile Recycling Inc., have more than 200 years combined industry experience and are actively engaged in recycling, processing and trading of more than 100 million pounds of post-consumer waste annually. To learn more visit



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We found this CNN story on Waste 360


Adidas to Make Shoes that Never Get Thrown Away


Sep 28, 2015 CNN Money | Things to Know
By Ahiza Garcia @ahiza_garcia


Adidas cleats

A new research project will create sporting goods that never get thrown away using a process Adidas calls “infinity-recycling.”

A new research project will create sporting goods that never get thrown away using a process Adidas calls “infinity-recycling.”


Adidas wants to make soccer cleats that never get thrown away. The world’s second largest maker of athletic wear announced its new “Sport Infinity” research project on Thursday. The company will use worn-out cleats and combine them with scrap materials from other industries to make new cleats.
Adidas began the project in June in an effort to practice what it calls “infinity-recycling.” The aim is to eliminate waste while still giving customers the new gear they want.  “The football boots of the future could contain everything from carbon used in aircraft manufacturing to fibres of the boots that scored during the World Cup,” Adidas said in a statement.  The shoes will be made using a special “3-D super-material.” Because they’re made without using adhesives, they can be remoulded again and again to fit the wearer’s needs and will allow for greater customization.



“The new super-material will make every sports fan a product designer,” Adidas said. “Whether to keep up with the latest trends or react to on-pitch needs, the football fan of the future will never wear old boots again.”
Adidas is attempting to generate excitement around the project by recycling Lionel Messi’s old cleats and into new cleats.  “I am proud that Adidas is working to make sure that all of their boots, including mine, are being made in a way that protects the environment. For me, this is the future of football,” Messi said.  The research project is being piloted in Germany and funded by the European Commission. It will last for three years, at which point Adidas hopes to have a commercial product ready.
Link to CNN Story.





 Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers



 PEYA Extends Deadline to January 31

PEYA pic.pngPEYA award application deadline extended to January 31, 2016.
The President’s Environmental Youth Award recognizes K-12 students and their efforts to protect the environment. The award promotes awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encourages positive community involvement.
Winning projects have included restoring natural habitats, starting recycling programs at school and in communities, and installing renewable energy projects. Applications are now due January 31, 2016. Encourage your students to apply soon.






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News Release
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
New England Regional Office
January 6, 2016
Contact: Kate Melanson, (617) 918-1491



Nominations Open for EPA’s Annual Environmental Merit Awards in New England – Deadline is Friday, Feb. 12, 2016



BOSTON – EPA is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Environmental Merit Awards, which will recognize environmental achievements during the past year. Award categories are available for individuals, businesses, governmental entities, and other organizations. Awards are also given under a lifetime achievement category.
These regional awards have been given out annually since EPA was created in 1970. Past recipients have included scientists, community activists, business representatives, public officials and other individuals committed to preserving the environment. An independent EPA panel will select the winners based on the following criteria: long-term effects on the environment; ability to address an environmental problem or need; collaboration with others; ability of the program or accomplishments to be widely shared; clarity and effectiveness of the presentation; and promotion of innovative ideas or techniques. Awards are traditionally given in four categories: individual; business, industry, trade, and professional organization; local, state or federal government; and environmental, community or non-profit organization.
This year EPA will also be awarding the Children’s Environmental Health Award for an Individual or group that has made significant progress, contribution, leadership toward protecting children from environmental health risks in schools, homes, and childcare environments in New England. Criteria for the Children’s Environmental Health Awards are:
– Innovative efforts to increase awareness of children’s unique vulnerabilities to pollutants and other environmental hazards through research, education, outreach, or capacity-building activities; and/or
– Development of activities or programs that have produced tangible reductions in risk to children from environmental health hazards where they live, learn, and play.
A final award category is available. For a third year EPA will be awarding the Ira Leighton “In Service to States” Environmental Merit Award. This award recognizes an individual or organization that has made significant strides in facilitating state and federal partnerships through innovative sustainable solutions addressing critical environmental challenges in New England. The successful candidate will have actively demonstrated conviction and leadership in protecting the environment and in promoting sustainable practices, and will be determined by a collaborations among the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM), the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA), in coordination with the New England state Environmental Commissioners.
The deadline for nominations is February 12, 2016. Awards winners will be invited to a ceremony in May in Boston. Nominations are only accepted online.
More information on Award categories, evaluation criteria and how to submit nominations:




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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







From the EPA Newsletter



Free Environmental Education Materials from EPA Publication Center



EPA kids

Help teach our kids about protecting the environment with these free resources.

Do you need environmental education materials for your classroom? The National Service Center for Environmental Publications offers materials grouped by grade range and free of charge. Publications include activity books, lesson plans, posters, and more.

Teachers can quickly and easily order environmental education materials for students.







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And on the lighter side of EPA . . .

EPA lorax



Here’s the link to EPA’s Games, Quizzes and More page:







We found this on Pinterest, at


Make a Storage Capsule Out of Two Plastic Soda Bottles

 Bottle cap container



By David Galloway
Filed to: Outdoors10/08/11 2:00pm

Backpackers often buy small lightweight containers to avoid lugging around full-size bottles of soap, condiments, sunblock, and many other substances. Save some money by making airtight, waterproof, and lightweight containers from the tops of two soda bottles. You’ll probably find a use for these even if you aren’t a backpacker.
Backpacking blogger JJ Mathes details the construction of these containers at the link below (no longer available). All you basically need to do is cut two plastic soda bottles just past the point where the screw-cap threads end and glue them together. If you want a two compartment capsule, measure and cutout a circular piece of plastic from the bottle’s sidewall.
I especially like the idea of using the two-compartment capsule for salt and pepper or two different daily medications. These would also be great to bring cooking oil, garlic cloves, and other cooking odds and ends when camping; perhaps even a couple of shots of your cordial of choice for a mountaintop toast.
CLUB note:  While the original link was missing, we found this YouTube video that gives you all the instructions.










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




Since our next issue won’t be out until February 15 . . .




Courtesy of

Courtesy of




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