Mulch, Composting Resources, Energy Awareness & More!
Mulch, Composting Resources, Energy Awareness & More!
Welcome to San Diego Unified's
Recycling & Zero Waste Newsletter
**October 2021 Edition**
Welcome to the October 2021 edition of the Recycling & Zero Waste newsletter for San Diego Unified teachers, staff, students, parents, and volunteers!  Wow, it’s sure good to be back in full swing!

This newsletter is designed to provide information and updates to the SDUSD community regarding waste diversion, recycling, composting, funding opportunities, environmental education resources, and other relevant information.

Check out the resources and information in this newsletter to give you ideas and inspiration!
  • School Gardens / Free Mulch
  • FOCUS on Composting
  • October is Energy Awareness Month
  • Grants/Contests/Other Opportunities
  • October Dates to Remember
  • Environmental Education Resources
  • Other Resources
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Resources & Information


Free mulch is available to schools through the District’s contract with Republic Services.  Many schools use mulch in and around their school gardens to suppress weeds, help retain moisture, and beautify the grounds.  There is a 5 cubic yard minimum quantity and deliveries are typically made on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Click here for more information and to schedule a delivery for your school.


The District’s Farm to School Program Specialist, Janelle Manzano, has an abundance of resources for those interested in developing or enhancing school gardens, including a monthly e-newsletter. She also coordinates quarterly gatherings (currently held on-line) for school garden coordinators and others interested in the Farm to School (F2S) movement.  F2S includes: 1) local food in the cafeteria, 2) school gardens, and 3) nutrition education.  For videos and information on nutrition, virtual field trips, garden activities, and more, access the Farm to School Video Library.  For more information, contact Janelle at


Resources & Information Available


Many schools are taking their school composting efforts to the next level through the Café to Compost program.  Is your school ready?  Café to Compost is a program to collect leftover fresh fruit and vegetables from your school’s café for composting in your school garden.  Click here for more information.


There are a lot of resources on how to compost at school.  To get you started, the District has developed a “Composting at SDUSD Schools Best Practices” guide.  Additional guides and resources can be found by clicking on the links below: 
How-to & Educational Videos:
Local Resources:


Know any creative students who'd like to help spread the word about the benefits of composting? Encourage them to enter this year's International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) poster and video contests!
 The contests are open now through Nov. 1, 2021.
All entries should highlight the theme of ICAW 2022: Recipe for Regeneration: Compost. ICAW is May 1-7, 2022.
Poster contest: Anyone in 9th grade (age 14) or older may enter. The winning poster will be reproduced and distributed to thousands nationwide to promote ICAW and will be featured on the Compost Research & Education Foundation website and the US Composting Council website. The winner will receive a $500 prize.
Video contest: Anyone in grades 4–8 or ages 10–13 may enter. Videos must be 30 seconds or less. All video entries will be shown on the ICAW YouTube channel. The winning video will be highlighted on the ICAW website. The winner will receive a tablet.
Learn more HERE.


Check out these Resources & Challenges

National Energy Education Development (NEED) - Each year, the U.S. Department of Energy designates October as Energy Awareness Month. During the month, many schools undertake energy efficiency and conservation activities. These classroom activities connect well to student homes and schools. Using energy wisely makes sense – both for the environment and for economics.
This month, consider teaching about the energy sources we use and how to use them more efficiently using NEED activities.  Click HERE for more information and resources.
Climate Superstars Challenge (Oct. 1-31) -  An online environmental challenge from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) that gets kids in grades 6-8 excited about the environment (climate and energy), provides fun activities, and offers a chance to win one of six vouchers for $5,000 worth of Samsung products — what's not to love about that?  Find more information at:  Climate Superstars Challenge  
More Energy Education Resources
For the elementary classroom:  Energy Kids offers engaging online activities including puzzles, riddles, and virtual experiments and field trips.
Also check out Project Green Schools Energy Pathway for links, videos, and more resources.
For high school classrooms:  PBS Nova offers a Research Challenge, for students to use scientific data to design renewable energy systems for cities across the U.S.  
CLEAN (Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness Network) provides a collection of 700+ free, ready-to-use learning resources rigorously reviewed by educators and scientists suitable for secondary through higher education classrooms.   New resources are available for elementary grades, too!

Redford Center Stories:  Redford Center Stories invites young people (particularly those in 5th-12th grade) to join a journey of learning that builds confidence for learning across any subject, and puts them in the director’s seat to discover and articulate their wisdom as authors of humanity’s collective narrative.  As well as digital materials, and a year-long interactive online learning community, this project provides creative/design mini-challenges to help students explore their local and global environment, and support for helping students create 90-second Apple Clips films about an aspect of environmental justice that is particularly meaningful to them.  Sign up now for information on how to participate!
Earth X Young Filmmakers Contest: Students in grades 3 through age 25 can submit short videos in a variety of formats and topics.  Entries should identify a current problem and how you propose we solve this problem as a community with the goal of sustainability. There are cash prizes and scholarships for the winners!  Deadline:  Jan. 5, 2022
Earth X Eco-Art Competition: Artists ages 5-22 are encouraged to create a piece of art, either 2-D or 3-D, that illustrates the message of the theme:  Plant the Seed. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners! Deadline:  Jan. 24, 2022
PepsiCo Recycle Rally: If you want to collect more cans and bottles to earn money for your school then check out PepsiCo’s Recycle Rally for K-12 schools!  There are lots of resources for hosting a collection drive and fun ideas on how to inspire, boost awareness, educate, and more!.  On-going: For more information, click here.

October 6th is Walk to School Day
Register to participate as a school, a neighborhood, or a family in order to encourage physical activity, reduce reliance on cars, and promote safe neighborhoods. Participation is encouraged throughout the month of October.
October 8th: School Building Science Fridays “Ventilation: What you Need to Know” - Join the Collaborative for High Performance Schools on the 2nd Friday of each month from September to June to learn how the science behind school buildings supports student, educator, and staff health, safety, and success. Each webinar is 45 minutes long, with 30 minutes of expert presentations followed by 15 minutes of participant Q&A.
Next School Building Science Friday is Friday, October 8th at 11:00am PST discussing "Ventilation: What You Need to Know" Learn more, register and view the entire schedule HERE.
Check out What's Available

California EEI -The California Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI) is a part of a statewide effort to foster environmental literacy among California K-12 students. They provide educators with a free standards-based curriculum that teaches history and science through an environmental Lens.
California Environmental Literacy InitiativeThe California Environmental Literacy Initiative (CAELI), led by Ten Strands, works statewide with guidance from a leadership council to create systems change in support of environmental literacy with a focus on access, equity, and cultural relevance for all students.
Green Schools National NetworkThe start of a new school year is a great time to revisit and update your teaching practices and curriculum. Check out the ideas and articles for tips, strategies, and resources for incorporating sustainability topics in K-12 curriculum. 

Composting at San Diego Unified Schools - Best Practices
Check out Composting Best Practices for schools in San Diego Unified here. This helpful guide includes great information and resources about bringing composting programs to your school.
Nutrition Education Resources - San Diego Unified
Check out Food & Nutrition Services webpage here for videos, curricula, books, and links to help bring nutrition education to your classroom!
To sign up to receive the San Diego Unified Food & Nutrition Newsletter, click here.

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