The NRRA School Recycling Club

Northeast Resource Recovery Association

USDA Town & Gown Grant



Town & Gown – Taking Down the Wall


Operator and School Webinars are Now Available for Viewing!









NRRA is completing the final touches on this year’s USDA Rural Development grant,  Town & Gown – Taking Down the Wall. This grant has assisted in building alliances between municipal transfer stations (NH), waste management districts (VT) and their associated schools.  Outreach training has been completed and we are pleased to present the following webinars for professional development credit to Operators and Teachers where applicable.

(Please note that you must register and complete each webinar evaluation to receive credit.  All webinars are proprietary and cannot be duplicated or disseminated without express written permission from NRRA. Please refer to the disclaimer at the bottom of this page.)


1. Operator Smack Down! A Safety and Public Relations Training for Waste Facility Operators. (1.25 hours)

All employees have the right to a workplace free from safety and health hazards. Focusing on how to reduce future costs will avoid liabilities many fold when decision makers who spend time planning are dedicated to properly fitting a facility and supporting a “safety-first” etiquette that prevents injury. NRRA’s Operator Smack Down contains strategies for incorporating safety into facility management, self-inspection guidelines, and recordkeeping policies, including lists of common safety lapses, a table of common hazards, and discussion of hazards by category. Corrective action for a lapse in safety can be so simple but commonly overlooked; for example, having a hard line phone to call for help in an emergency if no cell service is available. Included in this training is a customer service exercise to help operators discuss best ways to handle difficult customers, deal with stress, and motivate others.


2. Things That Go BOOM! And Other Regulated Waste. (1.75 hours)

Even if a facility does not accept regulated waste for disposal, having a working knowledge of the types of regulated wastes, what hazards they present, and the disposal options available for each of them will help operators do their jobs more effectively. Often residents will approach an operator to ask about disposal options. Unfortunately materials get surreptitiously dropped at the transfer station, and then the operator has to handle them. NRRA’s Things That Go Boom includes general information regarding several common regulated wastes and the best practices to manage these wastes. It also describes the variety of hazardous materials collection programs and generalized state and federal regulations.


3. China Sword: Current Market Trends in Recycling. (.75 hours)

Recycling markets are volatile. Revenue fluctuations dictate the materials collected and can create havoc or triumph for community recycling programs. Contract negotiations, shared agreements, broadened markets and local manufacturing can moderate the instability, but it is not an easy or predictable journey. Trends in each industry (paper/paperboard, glass, steel, aluminum, or plastics), the demand for manufactured goods, and global economic cycles are always shifting. NRRA’s China Sword provides current national and regional recycling market scenarios.


4. Act 148 – VT’s Universal Recycling Law: What Do I Need to Know?  (1 hour)

Sometimes working in the solid waste field feels like being wrapped in “invisible” red tape. Unseen rules and regulations from many different agencies are lurking in every corner of your facility. Yet knowing what they are, who enforces them, and who can help you comply is far from easy. NRRA’s Act 148 discusses regulatory issues that apply to solid waste facilities in VT and provides resources to help understand it all.



5. The Dirt on Dirt: Composting 101. (1 hour)

Increasing public concern over air pollution, water quality, and property values, along with more stringent environmental standards have slowed the growth of new landfills and waste-to-energy facilities. Many of these operating facilities are reaching their end-of-life and many communities are not planning to revive them. Composting addresses the issue of decreasing solid waste disposal capacity, and also helps to replenish the earth’s soil – another decreasing commodity. NRRA’s The Dirt on Dirt: Composting 101 encourages waste professionals to support backyard composting and discusses the pros and cons of several different commercial composting technologies. An actively managed composting operation is a cost effective means to managing a large percentage of the waste stream and it is easier than you think!



6. Processed Glass Aggregate (PGA): A Certified Waste Derived Product. (.75 hours)

Glass collected through community recycling programs consists primarily of clear, green, and brown food or beverage containers. Decades ago it was economical to sort this glass by color, but the market price for recycled glass as cullet continues to decrease and the trend is not shifting. For this reason, many state environmental protection and/or transportation departments encourage safe and credible alternative uses of recycled glass as a replacement for other natural aggregate materials (gravel, crushed gravel, or crushed stone). NRRA’s PGA program outlines the requirements for the acceptable use of uncontaminated, mixed color, processed glass aggregate (PGA) as backfill material, drainage, subbase layers, roadway applications, embankments and foundations.


7. Healthy Home, Clean Waters. (1 hour)

Participants investigate household toxins, primarily cleaning chemicals. They learn how to identify toxic products, why it matters to human health and the environment, how to safely dispose of toxics and how to make or find safer alternatives in the market place. Appropriate for all ages, hands-on activities vary according to group. All participants receive recipe books for making non-toxic products from common, inexpensive items.


8. Waste = Global Climate Change. (.5 hours)

This workshop connects waste and global climate change and is followed by a Q&A session. Depending on time, a group break-out session explores and evaluates the school using a waste-focused “School Sustainability Scorecard.” Teams reassemble to report their findings and to reflect on environmental practices and policies the school already has and those they might consider adopting.


9. Back to the Earth. (.75 hours)

Yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute 27 percent of the US municipal solid waste stream. That’s a lot of waste to send to landfills when it could become useful and environmentally beneficial compost instead! Composting offers obvious resource management benefits and creates a useful product from organic waste that would otherwise have been landfilled. This workshop, available for all age groups, explains how composting works and how to make it work.


10. Garbage Guerrillas. (.5 hours)

A workshop version of our very popular Trash On the Lawn Day (T.O.L.D.) Rather than sorting all the waste from a day, participants collect small working samples of waste, which are audited and analyzed.


11. T.O.L.D. – Trash On the Lawn Day. (.5 hours)

A thought-provoking service-learning project that assesses a school’s waste management issues and opportunities for improvement, while fostering student leadership. Under The NRRA School Recycling CLUB’s guidance, student leaders organize a waste sort of an entire day’s worth of trash. This tool for positive change examines waste management practices, purchasing policies, hauling agreements and diversion opportunities. A T.O.L.D. consists of envisioning and audit planning, the audit, and presentation of the results and action plan. T.O.L.D.s often draw media attention and can become an annual event to track progress toward sustainable cost-effective methods of school waste management.


12. Star of Sustainability. (.5 hours)

Star Assessments are NRRA’s proprietary school recycling inventory and review. Developed for NRRA by Heather Greenwood, in collaboration with Antioch University New England, the Star Assessment provides a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative report on a school’s recycling and waste reduction efforts in five key areas. The report provides clear, unbiased suggestions and areas for improvement as well as a base-line data for future examination of your schools recycling program. Star Assessments take roughly an hour (depending on school size) to complete and require access to an entire school. They make a great activity for a Green Team or Recycling Team of students or teachers to start off a year or get better organized.


13. Indoor Air Quality & Green Cleaning. (1.25 hours)

School building occupants are at risk of exposure to many indoor air quality hazards such as cleaning chemicals, varnishes, maintenance issues, improper storage of art/science/voc tech chemicals. This workshop explores such risks and how green cleaning practices can significantly improve school health.


14. Town & Gown. (.75 hours)

Town & Gown – A Recycling Cooperative demonstrates how towns and schools can partner to save on recycling and waste disposal by pooling resources, creating revenue and training the next green generation.




Disclaimer for online webinars:

Thank you for your interest in the NRRA online learning webinars. Please take a moment and browse our selection of NRRA School Recycling CLUB and Solid Waste Operator modules.  These online training modules were created to provide school staff and solid waste operators as well as community members, cross training opportunities in the areas of solid waste and the NRRA School Recycling CLUB program offerings. Professional development certificates are available by request and after taking the webinar evaluation which will be sent to you via email. The in-person workshops are tailored according to audience type, so topics covered in these webinars may be more in depth or advanced than what is covered in a workshop. Please contact NRRA if you have questions about any of the webinars or interested in programming for your community.


If you would like more information about webinar participation please contact Gwen Erley at




Presenting … School HazMat 101!

Are you concerned about your school’s health and safety? NRRA’s School HazMat 101: A Blueprint for Hazardous Materials Management in Schools was written specifically to help the entire school community benefit from addressing hazardous materials use. Funded by the USDA Rural Utilities Program, this manual provides information that improves the school’s ability to employ safe management practices. 

Many people are accustomed to using hazardous materials in their everyday lives and have become desensitized to the potential health and environmental risks. They also may not fully understand the short­ and long-term health and environmental consequences. NRRA’s School HazMat 101: A Blueprint for Hazardous Materials Management in Schools reveals how hazardous materials can be used safely by raising awareness of the role hazardous materials play in their lives and the associated risks. This manual informs school personnel how to be pro-active in protecting themselves, the students, the environment, and by taking a leadership role in their community.

For grant reporting purposes, we are asking that schools contact NRRA individually and sign a Terms of Use stating they will not share their password. We want to track interest areas and demographics. Once we receive your signed Terms of Use, we will send you the password and link for School HazMat 101. Please send your signed Terms of Use to



Concerned about your school’s air quality? If you would like to have an assessment done at your school, you may order our Technical Assistance Training – Green Cleaning & Indoor Air Quality Assessment. For details, check out our MENU or contact Gwen Erley at