The NRRA School Recycling Club

Northeast Resource Recovery Association

School News You Can Use – November, 2015


Recycle the earth pic 




  • CLUB News – Milford Twin TOLDs & USDA Grant
  • In The News – America Recycles Day
  • Contests, Scholarships & Fundraisers – PEYA Awards
  • EPA & NHDES News – Holiday Food Waste
  • Activity – Napkin Folding & Gourd-jus Gourds
  • Green Calendar 


Click here to view PDF




Milford Middle School Hosts Historic   2-DAY TOLD Event

Milford Told-EC-Set up pic

A perfect “frost on the pumpkin” morning in Milford.




It was a perfect New Hampshire Fall Day on October 27 – bright sunshine, frost on the practice field and frosty breaths from the students and teachers of Milford Middle School.  CLUB Educator Cindy Sterling and our newest media consultant, Ellen Cabral, joined me in setting up for an historic 2-day TOLD event.  We were most impressed with the students of Milford’s Recycling Club who took an active role in promoting, organizing, directing the students, coming up with their own recycling trivia game and even singing their own recycling song before each group.


Over the two day stretch, approximately 400 students had a chance to help weigh, sort and record the trash and recycling in a typical day’s trash from the school. Overwhelmingly, they acknowledged the amount of food waste that could have been diverted from the waste stream.  Of the 341 lbs. of trash sorted, only 153 lbs. (or 45%) was actual trash – the rest were recyclables.  Of the recyclables recovered, 88 lbs. (or 26%) was compostable material.


Here are some pictures for your enjoyment:

Milford Told-EC-Recycling Team 1

Day 1 and Milford Middle School’s Recycling Club energizes the crowd!





Milford Told-DVP-Recycling Team 2

Day 2 – The Recycling Club breaks down the sorting operations for the students.

















Milford Told-EC-Students sort

Let the sorting begin!

















Milford Told-EC-Sorted trash

We found all these recyclables in the trash!



















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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.


HELP WANTED!Help wanted pic



Skilled Educator Needed
The Northeast Resource Recovery Association is the nation’s oldest non-profit recycling cooperative. We are seeking a qualified educator to update our natural resource management and pollution prevention K-12 curricula. We are publishing a fourth edition for our two curriculums and want to align the lesson plans with the Common Core Standards Initiative. The curricula are already aligned with VT and NH state standards, but the fourth edition will move it to the next level. A level that assuredly helps teachers to prepare their students to succeed in college, career and life with hands-on activities that combine science, math, English literature and social studies.

This is a limited time position, to be completed no later than February 1, 2016 or sooner. It is grant funded and can be completed working from home. Applicants should be sufficiently knowledgeable of the common core structure to complete this alignment project. Administrative support will produce the final product once the alignment draft is completed. Please submit a short letter of interest and qualifications with phone and email contact information.

Seeking a Creative K-12 Educator


Part-time, work from home, strong research skills required.
Are you familiar with the common core standards initiative? Want to apply them to two really fun hands-on science based curricula?
The Northeast Resource Recovery Association is the nation’s oldest non-profit recycling cooperative. It is seeking a qualified educator to update our natural resource management and pollution prevention K-12 curricula. We are publishing a fourth edition for our two curriculums and want to align the lesson plans with the Common Core Standards Initiative. The curricula are already aligned with VT and NH state standards, but the fourth edition will move it to the next level. A level that assuredly helps teachers prepare their students to succeed in college, career and life with hands-on activities that combine science, math, English literature and social studies.

This is a limited time position, to be completed no later than February 1, 2016 or sooner. It is grant funded and can be completed working from home. Applicants should be sufficiently knowledgeable of the common core structure to complete this alignment project. Administrative support will produce the final product once the alignment draft is completed. Please submit a short letter of interest and qualifications with phone and email contact information.
Note: Compensation is based on your proposal following further discussion based on submission of your letter of interest. It is grant funded so there is an amount we cannot exceed.
Contact Cindy at or 603-736-4401 ext. 10.

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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Calling all Students!


The holidays are fast approaching and you can make a difference. As the weather gets colder, and you start to pull out your winter gear, keep in mind there are other students who may benefit from your gently used older gear.  Local churches and charitable organizations will gladly take your outgrown jackets and outerwear and redistribute them. Just be sure to clear this with your parent or guardian.

One Warm Coat Logo

We found this site which can give you some guidance:





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FIRST® LEGO® League TRASH TREK℠ Challenge

Several CLUB members have contacted us about this year’s FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge. FLL® has selected TRASH TREK℠ as the subject for their 2015 Project.

Each team will:Print


  • Identify a problem with the way we make or handle trash
  • Design an innovative solution to the problem you select
  • Share your problem and solution with others


To find out more, go to FIRST® LEGO® League.



We may not be able to answer all of your inquiries, so please keep in mind that your local transfer station and waste haulers can answer your questions and may allow you to tour their facilities.

There are so many inspiring stories of individuals and companies finding recycling solutions.  We have added some great examples in this newsletter and don’t forget our newsletter archive for more ideas.


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Speaking of Legos . . .



Lego News from Waste360



Three Steps the Lego Group is Taking Towards Zero Waste

Sep 14, 2015 Cheryl McMullen


More than likely you’ve built your own cars, weapons and castles with Legos. Lego pic1Maybe you’ve painstakingly pieced together the Star Wars Death Star, assembled Captain Jack’s Black Pearl or fabricated any number of Lego’ sets. The Lego Group is known worldwide for its plastic brick toys, but the latest design the company is considering is the bricks themselves a more sustainable product.
Companies around the globe are looking to reduce their footprint and make a profit. The makers of Lego blocks, are no different. In fact, the Lego Group is investing $150 million in research, development and application of new, sustainable, raw materials to manufacture Lego blocks and their packaging materials. The company also has high hopes for reaching its 2030 goals for sustainable products, reducing its carbon footprint and eliminating waste.
1. Alternative Sustainable Materials. This month, Lego Group CFO John Goodwin announced the hiring of the first of an additional 100-plus specialists brought aboard to boost the company’s search for alternative materials for building Lego blocks. This is no easy task, as Lego produces an estimated 19 billion bricks each year and the alternative material would need to be sustainable, while taking on 58 different colors, and fitting together (and holding together) with the strength of the oil-based plastic currently used in producing Legos.The first hiring came three months after the company said it was establishing the Lego Sustainable Materials Centre, based at its headquarters in Billund, Denmark. The center, which will have satellite locations around the world, will lead the drive toward reaching the Lego Group’s 2030 ambition of finding and implementing sustainable alternatives to all current materials – including the materials presently used to manufacture Lego bricks, which are all petro-chemically based. “This is a major step for the Lego Group on our way towards achieving our 2030 ambition on sustainable materials,” said CEO and President of the Lego Group, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp.
2. Packaging. The company saves an estimated 6,000 tons of cardboard each year by using smaller, more sustainable boxes. The boxes contain 75 percent recycled content and the smaller size requires less energy to transport to stores, saving as much as 3,000 truckloads annually. The smaller boxes also carry the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo. FSC is an international non-profit certification system that ensures wood and wood-based packaging comes from sustainable sources.
“Reducing our box size makes sense for shoppers, retailers, our business and most importantly the environment,” said Knudstorp.
3. Waste. Lego tradition since the 1950s is well known. Its approach to waste is similarly traditional: reduce, reuse and recycle. The company works to reduce its inputs, reuse materials when possible and recycle paper, cardboard, wood and metal. In 2013, Lego achieved a 90 percent recycling rate from its production facilities, putting it another step closer to its zero waste goal. In hopes of making improvements, the company says it will continue recycling 100 percent of all element waste, by reducing inputs and reusing and recycling other materials used in the production process.




Lego World

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For Lego Recycling Now . . .



 Recycling Legos




Any day can be “Earth Day”, not just April 20th. Declutter your home, save the environment, and spread joy all at the same time! accepts mixed up or complete LEGO sets and pieces (bricks, figures, etc), and matches them with kids that will use, cherish, and learn from them. did a study, calling over 40 thrift shops, libraries, and BrickRecycler2charitable organizations throughout the US and found most thrift shops do not take mixed LEGO pieces.  We also called every curbside recycling center covering the top 30 metro areas in the US.


Unfortunately LEGOs are not recyclable by these centers for a variety of reasons, including:
• contain ABS and mixed plastics
• don’t contain any recycling symbols
• are not considered “containers”
• are “toys”
• are far too small to be mechanically sorted
• some may include: electrical elements, batteries, or magnets.
Simply send your used pieces in good condition to the address above. Packing tips can be found here. even donated hundreds of pounds to mutiple organizations, including Haiti children, orphans in Zimbabwe, LEGO clubs, etc. They can pay for your postage if need, and you ship by ground, as long as you are in the US! Pretty cool!
Boy Scout, Girl Scout troops, teens, and schools have used collecting LEGOs as a great community service project too! Wow, you can help people declutter their homes, pass awesome toys on to multiple future generations, and save the environment. This is an example of “Pay it Forward” to the max!
Yes, is still accepting donations of new and used Lego pieces (complete or not). This will continue throughout 2015, 2016, and 2017 at least.
If you are a 501 (c)(3) organization that desperately needs Legos, please contact us at the email above as well. Thanks for spreading so much joy!



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 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 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!





 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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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





America Recycles Day – November 15


America Recycles Day, a program of Keep America Beautiful, is a nationally recognized day dedAmerica Recycles Logoicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. Every year on November 15 (America Recycles Day) event organizers educate neighbors, friends and colleagues through thousands of events. Keep America Beautiful created guides, tools, templates and tips to make it easy to organize your local school or community event.

To learn more, click here.



For ideas on what to recycle at home:

America Recycles Poster



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From our friends at Resource Recycling:


Resource Recyclig Logo



America Recycles Day looks ‘beyond bottles and cans’



By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling
October 20, 2015
The theme of this year’s America Recycles Day, “Bathrooms, Wraps & Gadgets,” is meant to remind people about recyclable but often overlooked items in the home.
“For 2015, we want to encourage people to think beyond bottles and cans to other products that may not be as top of mind but are also recyclable,” Brenda Pulley, senior vice president of recycling at Keep America Beautiful (KAB), stated in a press release.
America Recycles Day, the popular annual initiative of KAB, takes place during the weeks leading up to and on Nov. 15. The nationally recognized recycling awareness and service day involves recycling-related activities from thousands of people across the country.
Last year, more than 2,000 events were registered online. Online registration for 2015 events is now open at
The 2015 theme aims to bring attention to the recyclability of items such as hair care and mouthwash bottles, plastic bags, plastic wrap used to package paper towels and toilet paper, and consumer electronics, according to KAB.


For this year’s event, KAB will also be running a sweepstakes to give out four Apple Certified Refurbished iPad mini 3 devices. To enter, people post a photo on social media of them holding an item they pledge to recycle. The contest runs from Oct. 15 to Nov. 20.




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Stranger Than Fiction . . .


(From Plastics News)

October 1, 2015

By Catherine Kavanaugh



Hungry mealworms may be the future of EPS recycling



mealworm pic

Yu Yang/Stanford University A Stanford University study shows that mealworms can digest expanded polystyrene and excrete a product that may be suitable for crop planting.


Outlawed in some U.S. cities as unrecyclable waste and controversial almost everywhere, the plastic foam carryout food container could become a new part of the mealworm’s diet — and solve a major garbage problem in the process.
Larvae of the darkling beetle will not only feed on expanded polystyrene, but microorganisms in their guts biodegrade it internally. And then, they poop out a seemingly safe product that may be suitable as soil for crops. Talk about waste disposal.
The promising trash-to-food chain is unfolding in a laboratory at Stanford University, where a research team is the first to provide detailed evidence of bacterial degradation of plastic in an animal’s gut.
“It’s actually astonishing to see the worms eating their way through the polystyrene,” Craig Criddle, a Stanford professor of civil and environmental engineering, said in a telephone interview. “It is surprising.”
Another surprise is that the PS doesn’t seem to be toxic to the insects, which also are getting potatoes and food scraps for a nutritious balanced diet.
“They’re fine with a little bit of the good stuff on the side,” Criddle said.
He is supervising the study at Stanford, which is being led by senior researcher Wei-Min Wu in collaboration with colleagues in China. The study is still in its early stages, but Wu described in an email the high hopes he has for its implications: “to find a way to remediate current plastic pollution.”
Gut reactions
Wu is building on research initiated at the Beihang University in China, where researchers observed waxworms, the larvae of Indian mealmoths, break down polyethylene in the form of plastic bags thanks to microorganisms in their guts. Wu said he decided to study EPS because it is commonly used for coffee cups and Americans throw away some 2.5 billion of those each year. The findings to date also are significant because EPS “has been considered basically non-biodegradable and it causes pollution problems in soil, rivers, lakes and oceans,” Wu said.
In the Stanford study, 100 mealworms ate 34-39 milligrams of EPS — the equivalent weight of a small pill — each day. Microbes in the guts of the baby bugs broke down the plastic and converted some of it into carbon dioxide and some of it into biodegradable fragments, which were excreted like tiny rabbit droppings within 24 hours.So far, that excreted waste appears safe to use as soil, according to the researchers.
“Our findings have opened a new door to solve the global plastic pollution problem,” Wu said in a Sept. 29 news release. But first, many other questions need to be answered about the microbes and their role in the processing of the plastic.
“The insects do some of the work because they’re chewing up the material,” Criddle said. “Then the microbes take it to an even smaller scale by breaking it down with enzymes and that effectively is recycling the material at a molecular scale. In the near term we’d like to find out what the enzymes are and understand the conditions under which they are operating.”
When the microbes are grown outside the insect, they still break down the polystyrene but not at as high of a rate, Criddle said.  “The rate of degradation seems to happen faster inside these worms,” he said. “Something is occurring inside the insect.”
Eating away
A lot of questions about how the mealworms process plastics and what that could mean for the polluted planet are eating away at the researchers.
“If we learn more about new enzymes or new processes, how can we engineer them in way that helps get rid of the problem,” Criddle asked. “…There are many issues with [EPS] and these other plastics so we need to find solutions to these problems for many reasons. Landfills are filling up. There’s ocean debris.”
Scientists could be at the forefront of engineering more powerful enzymes to degrade plastic or guiding manufacturers to design polymers that don’t accumulate in the environment or food chains.
“This is early stage research,” Criddle said. “We don’t know where it will go.”
The researchers at Stanford and in China plan to study whether the microorganisms in mealworms and other insects could biodegrade other plastics, such as polypropylene, mircobeads and bioplastics. Wu said they also begin looking for a marine equivalent of the mealworm.  The long-term ripple effect is exciting, Criddle said, but he doesn’t want to raise hopes too high.
“We’re human beings. We have those hopes, too,” he said. “We don’t want to raise expectations to a level where we can’t meet them. We want to be realistic about what’s possible this science. We just don’t know; there’s a lot we don’t know right now.”



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 For Our Youngest Recyclers . . .


From our friends at the Container Recycling Institute

PreSchool Recyclers

Steve Mackie (top) pours recycled papers into a large bag as Jason Ogg and the pre-kindergarten class at Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid helps recycle paper, plastic bottles and aluminum cans Wednesday. (Bonnie Vculek / Enid News & Eagle)

Teaching recycling to children



Sally AsherBy Sally Asher Staff Writer/Education/Health Reporter
Posted on Oct 22, 2015

A Northwestern Oklahoma State University-Enid organization is making 4-year-olds into superheroes.
Conserving Our Ranger Environment faculty sponsor Steven Mackie brought his college students and Enid Public Schools’ 4-year-olds together to create Ranger Recyclers.
Five students in the on-campus learning lab on a rotating basis get to help CORE pick up recycling items from around the NWOSU-Enid campus and take it out to the pickup area while wearing red recycling capes.
“Superhero powers, activate! Recycling!” Mackie cheered as he and the tiny recyclers soared down the hallway, capes flowing in the wind. “What do we recycle? Do we recycle grass?”
“No!” The recycling superheroes said.
“Do we recycle plastic?”
“Do we recycle cars?”
“Do we recycle paper!”
The students helped Mackie put paper, cans and plastic into bags. He held up a Coca-Cola can.
“What is this made out of?” he asked, and after a long pause as the students struggled for the right term, added, “It’s kind of a big word … aluminum!”
“M&Ms!” One caped recycler cheered, struggling over the word and settling for something easier and tastier to say.
Mackie said the purpose behind Ranger Recyclers is twofold.
“It’s partially for the help, but also to get them thinking about recycling,” he said. “Parents have even called me and asked how they can start recycling at home.”



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From EPA’s WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge Email: October 29, 2015

Creating LEDs from Food and Beverage Waste


Tue, 10/13/2015 – 2:00pm
Chanapa Tantibanchachai, Univ. of Utah

A small light-emitting diode (LED) fabricated by carbon dots (CDs). Image: Prashant Sarswat

A small light-emitting diode (LED) fabricated by carbon dots (CDs). Image: Prashant Sarswat


Christmas lights, DVD players, televisions and flashlights have one thing in common: they’re made with light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs are widely used for a variety of applications and have been a popular, more efficient alternative to fluorescent and incandescent bulbs for the past few decades.


Two Univ. of Utah researchers have now found a way to create LEDs from food and beverage waste. In addition to utilizing food and beverage waste that would otherwise decompose and be of no use, this development can also reduce potentially harmful waste from LEDs generally made from toxic elements.
LEDs are a type of device that can efficiently convert electricity to light. Unlike fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, which direct 80% of the energy consumed to producing heat, LEDs direct 80% of the energy consumed to producing light. This is made possible by the fact that LEDs do not require a filament to be heated as incandescent and fluorescent bulbs do.
LEDs can be produced by quantum dots, or tiny crystals that have luminescent properties. Quantum dots (QDs) can be made with numerous materials, some of which are rare and expensive to synthesize, and even potentially harmful to dispose of. Some research over the past 10 years has focused on using carbon dots (CDs), or simply QDs made of carbon, to create LEDs instead.
Compared to other types of quantum dots, CDs have lower toxicity and better biocompatibility, meaning they can be used in a broader variety of applications.  U Metallurgical Engineering Research Asst. Prof. Prashant Sarswat and Prof. Michael Free, over the past year and a half, have successfully turned food waste such as discarded pieces of tortilla into CDs, and subsequently, LEDs.  The results were recently published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.
From bread to bulb
To synthesize waste into CDs, Sarswat and Free employed a solvothermal synthesis, or one in which the waste was placed into a solvent under pressure and high temperature until CDs were formed. In this experiment, the researchers used soft drinks and pieces of bread and tortilla.  The food and beverage waste were each placed in a solvent and heated both directly and indirectly for anywhere from 30 to 90 mins.  After successfully finding traces of CDs from the synthesis, Sarswat and Free proceeded to illuminate the CDs to monitor their formation and color.
The pair also employed four other tests, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman and AFM imaging to determine the CDs’ various optical and material properties.
“Synthesizing and characterizing CDs derived from waste is a very challenging task. We essentially have to determine the size of dots which are only 20 nm or smaller in diameter, so we have to run multiple tests to be sure CDs are present and to determine what optical properties they possess,” said Sarswat.
For comparison, a human hair is around 75,000 nm in diameter.
The various tests Sarswat and Free ran first measured the size of the CDs, which correlates with the intensity of the dots’ color and brightness. The tests then determined which carbon source produced the best CDs. For example, sucrose and D-fructose dissolved in soft drinks were found to be the most effective sources for production of CDs.
Finally, the CDs were suspended in epoxy resins, heated and hardened to solidify the CDs for practical use in LEDs.
An environmentally sustainable alternative
Currently, one of the most common sources of QDs is cadmium selenide, a compound comprised of a two toxic elements. The ability to create QDs in the form of CDs from food and beverage waste would eliminate the need for concern over toxic waste, as the food and beverages themselves are not toxic.
“QDs derived from food and beverage waste are not based on common toxic elements such as cadmium and selenium, which makes their processing and disposal more environmentally friendly than it is for most other QDs. In addition, the use of food and beverage waste as the starting material for QDs allows for reduced waste and cost to produce a useful material,” said Free.
In addition to being toxic when broken down, cadmium selenide is also expensive—one Website listed a price of $529 for 25 mL of the compound.
“With food and beverage waste that are already there, our starting material is much less expensive. In fact, it’s essentially free,” said Sarswat.
According to a report from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, roughly 31% of food produced in 2014 was not available for human consumption. To be able to use this waste for creating LEDs which are widely used in a number of technologies would be an environmentally sustainable approach.
Looking forward, Sarswat and Free hope to continue studying the LEDs produced from food and beverage waste for stability and long term performance.
“The ultimate goal is to do this on a mass scale and to use these LEDs in everyday devices. To successfully make use of waste that already exists, that’s the end goal,” said Sarswat.
Source: Univ. of Utah


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From Treehugger


This HORSE converts food waste into fertilizer and energy



Derek Markham picDerek Markham (@derekmarkham)
Technology / Clean Technology
September 22, 2015


© Impact Bioenergy

In this case, the HORSE is a ‘living’ machine, not an animal, and has the potential to reinvent the food cycle.

We have a huge food waste problem, not only in the US, but all over the globe, and while the issue really needs to be addressed on the upstream side, we also need viable solutions on the downstream, or consumer side, for converting biodegradable waste of all sorts into a usable resource. Composting is one great option, but it does require time, space, and infrastructure to support it, so it can’t be a one-size-fits-all solution without a major shift in the way we deal with our waste on a local and regional level.

However, one potential solution may lie in what’s called the HORSE, or High-solids Organic-waste Recycling System with Electrical Output, device, currently in development from Impact Bioenergy. This portable anaerobic digestion system can accept a wide variety of organic waste materials, ranging from kitchen scraps and yard waste to paper products, and generate both liquid fertilizer and energy in the form of biogas and electricity.

Assuming one of the devices could be placed in each neighborhood or community (accompanied by a rigorous recycling and overall waste-reduction program), the HORSE system could eventually “eradicate curbside garbage pickup” and avoid the carbon emissions associated with that element of waste management.

Video link:


According to Impact Bioenergy, each HORSE unit is capable of converting 25 tons per year of organic waste into about 5400 gallons of liquid fertilizer and up to 37 MWh (megawatt-hours) of energy. With a daily input rate of 135 lb (61.2 kg) of organic waste, a single HORSE could produce up to 360,000 BTU of energy per day, and 2.5 kW per hour in electric output, with virtually no waste, using the power of microbes to do the heavy lifting. Each unit is said to cost $43,300 USD, and to take the device from prototype to a containerized production model, Impact Bioenergy is seeking crowdfunding with a Kickstarter campaign.
The impact that an affordable and portable anaerobic digestion unit like this could have on local waste management issues, renewable energy production, and reduced transportation emissions is potentially huge, even without coupling it to a low-carbon transport model. But if, as Impact Bioenergy sees it, the electrical output from a HORSE was used to power an electric cargo trike, then the ‘horsepower’ from these units could truly be a gamechanger.
“When generating electricity this energy converts into about 5,000 kWh per year. If a Tesla gets around 2 miles per kWh, our HORSE could power that Tesla to go about 10,000 miles per year. Not bad. Keep in mind, that car weighs 2.5 tons though. To improve transportation productivity, we decided to lose the unnecessary weight and create a carbon neutral urban cargo tricycle powered by human and electric motorhub.
Let’s go Back-to-the-future and call this the HORSEPOWERED CARRIAGE. Fully loaded, this carriage weighs around 0.3 tons. Now we can squeeze the work out of every kWh and transport stuff more than 10 miles per kWh. That’s a 5x improvement in electric vehicle productivity or about 52,000 miles per year! This mind-blowing combination could be the next-gen HORSE and CARRIAGE, from waste to wheels…1 lb of food scraps can fuel 1 mile of electric transport!” – Impact Bioenergy
For more information on the project, and how you can contribute to its success, see the HORSE Kickstarter campaign page.



 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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Wyland “Water is Life” Mural and Art Challenge


Wyland Poster Contest


Educational leaders and teachers take part in the 2015 Wyland National ‘Water is Life” Mural and Art Challenge Sept.25 – Nov. 25. Sign up before Aug. 15 to win 1 of 100 free mural canvases for your classroom to participate in a nationwide environmental mural and individual art contest celebrating our ocean, lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands. This year’s theme will be “Our Coasts and Climate.”
2015 Mural Art Contest:categories include grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. The class in each category whose mural best expresses their understanding of and appreciation for “Our Coast and Climate” will receive a $250 gift card to Michael’s for art supplies and a grand prize signed Wyland artwork (Total ARV. $1,000) Schools may register multiple classes. Note: To qualify for entry each participating mural must be accompanied by no fewer than 5 individual concept entries into the individual contest.
2015 Individual Art Contest: categories include all grades K-12. The student in each grade category whose artwork best expresses the “Our Coast and Climate” theme will receive a gift certificate for art supplies.


Deadline to submit murals and individual art is Nov. 25, 2015
Official Classroom Mural and Art Challenge Rules



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

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






EPA Public Engagement Banner



From 10/29/15


EPA Seeking Youth Input on Climate Justice by November 30


Make your voice heard on climate justice.  EPA’s National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) is forming a first-of-its-kind workgroup comprised of up to 15 youth climate justice leaders to assist EPA in developing strategies to combat climate change and empower youth. Young people are making tremendous strides toward a more sustainable future, and EPA greatly values the youth perspective.

EPA Climate Justice Video

Make your voice heard on climate justice.

The Climate Justice Youth Workgroup will assist the NEJAC in developing advice and recommendations to assist EPA in developing best practices to address climate change concerns as highlighted from a youth perspective. Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 29. The deadline for applications is November 30, 2015.

Learn how to apply.
Watch a video on the importance of the youth perspective on climate change.



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EPA FRC Rethink logo

Be Food Smart During the Holidays

EPA News You Can Use – November 2015

Reducing food waste. As we enter the holiday season, remember to feed people, not landfills. Prevent waste by being smart about what you buy, how you prep, and how you store food. Donate extra food to an area food bank. And if somehow you still end up with scraps, compost them.




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About WasteWise

Wastewise helps organizations and businesses apply sustainable materials management practices to reduce municipal and select industrial wastes.

Organizations can join WasteWise as a partner, endorser, or both. Partners demonstrate how they reduce waste, practice environmental stewardship, and incorporate sustainable materials management into their waste-handling processes. Endorsers promote enrollment in WasteWise as part of a comprehensive approach to help their stakeholders realize the economic benefits to reducing waste.

Launched in 1994, WasteWise has become a mainstay in environmental stewardship and continues to evolve to address tomorrow’s environmental needs.

Benefits of Joining


All U.S. businesses, local governments, and non-profit organizations can join WasteWise. WasteWise participants range from small local governments and nonprofit organizations to large multinational corporations.

WasteWise Endorsers engage state and local government agencies, trade associations, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to help educate their members, constituents, or clients about the benefits of reducing solid waste.

For more information, go to WasteWise.







Holiday Napkin Folding


Here at the CLUB, we advocate the use of cloth napkins over disposable paper napkins (unless you are using them for composting).  There are many creative ideas and videos on how to fold cloth napkins, but this one really takes the cake:


Turkey Napkin



Here’s the link:



But why stop there?

We found these great ideas for the leftover ornamental gourds:



Gourd Birdhouse




gourd art


 Dish or Bowl


gourd bowl








11/15/15 – America Recycles Day – An initiative of Keep America Beautiful (KAB), America Recycles Day is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the U.S. For ideas, contact

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








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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