Fall 2020
Fall 2020

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Welcome to San Diego Unified's
Recycling & Zero Waste Newsletter
**FALL 2020 Edition**
Welcome to the Fall 2020 edition of the Recycling & Zero Waste newsletter for San Diego Unified teachers, staff, students, parents, and volunteers!  Although the start to this new school year looks differently than any other – ever – we hope to provide valuable information and updates to the SDUSD community, including resources for:
  • Environmental education distance learning 
  • Outdoor learning
  • Waste diversion
  • Recycling
  • Composting
  • Other relevant information
If you didn’t get to check out the Spring Newsletter put together by our waste and recycling contractor, Republic Services, you can see it here!
Visit our Website

Even though we were not able to formally recognize our Recycling Challenge winners at a Board of Education meeting last April, we still want to give the following schools accolades for their tremendous efforts to reduce waste and recycle from September 2019 - March 2020!
1st Place:  Sandburg - 36.6% diversion
Runner-Up:  Marvin -  36.0% diversion
1st Place:  Challenger  -  36.5% diversion
Runner-Up:  Taft  -  34.9% diversion
1st Place:  Henry  -  40.9% diversion
Runner-Up: University City -30.9% diversion
Lewis Middle -  Up from  14.4% diversion last year to 22.5% diversion this year
For more information and to see how your school ranked in the Recycling Challenge, click HERE.

Here’s the Scoop

The school year has started, but the Recycling Challenge has not… yet. Since most students are not on campus at the moment, and Green Teams and environmental clubs cannot meet or engage their school community in waste diversion efforts, we are in the process of re-imagining this year’s Recycling Challenge.  Stay tuned for more information!
We DO want to give a shout-out to custodial staff that ARE on campus getting our schools ready for a safe re-opening.  Many of them are diligently recycling as they clean up, clean out, and prepare for students and staff to return! THANK YOU!


Bring your classroom outside!

Schools across the United States are using their school grounds and local parks as safe outdoor learning environments to increase their capacity and options for social distancing as students return to school. Studies show that spending time outdoors is critical to student academic, physical, and mental well-being. Read the article here.

Outdoor Learning Doesn't Need an Outdoor Classroom

You don't need benches or tables to bring your student learning outdoors. Walk your school campus and look for areas where students can learn while keeping safe. Some ideas may include:
  • Any sidewalk can be a great place to practice math problems, write vocabulary, make a review game, create drawings - the sky is the limit!  Just bring along chalk for each student - you can break into pieces so you don't have to disinfect.
  • Shaded, grassy areas make wonderful small group discussion areas and allow plenty of room for social distancing
  • Take a nature walk and have students think about or write about what they see in nature.  You could even start a nature journal and compare seasonal changes throughout the school year.

Simple ways to have a successful outdoor classroom:

  • Be purposeful
  • Set ground rules for behavior
  • Avoid the “recess” mentality
  • Make sure you have the necessary tools and equipment for the lesson
  • Use low-cost materials to create your outdoor classroom
  • Plan for the weather and use it to your advantage
 (Credits: Information and photo provided by Douglas County School District – Colorado) 
Outdoor Teaching Webinar Opportunity
Using the outdoors for teaching is a compelling reopening strategy for schools but many are left wondering how to do it effectively. The Center for Green Schools, in partnership with Green Schoolyards America and district leaders from across the country, invite you to this webinar to learn about case studies and resources for executing a successful outdoor learning program for your school.

...and @ Home!

A HUGE environmental impact of the COVID pandemic is the increase in single use items such as gloves and masks (personal protective equipment or PPE), wipes, plastic silverware, and single-serving condiments.  Unfortunately, most of these items cannot be recycled.  Please make sure these items are tossed in the trash at school and at home!
How to Recycle Right
  • Recycle clean items: Make sure bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, and plastic containers are relatively clean (i.e. no food, no liquids, no yuck!).   Empty and rinse appropriate items if possible.
     - Fact:  There have been significant changes to global markets where many recyclables from the United States are sold to make new products.  Sometimes items that were recyclable in a program may no longer have a buyer for them, so the items cannot continue to be collected.  Whenever possible, use reusable items to cut down on items that even have to be recycled or thrown away.
  • Recycle plastics by shape: bottles, jars, jugs, tubs, and trays. These are “rigid” plastics.
    - Fact: The "chasing arrows" symbol on a product doesn't necessarily mean the item is recyclable at school or at home in San Diego.  Many single-use and other plastic items are made of hard to recycle plastic and can’t be put in recycling bins.
Check out what can be recycled at school and at home!
And don’t forget that cartons and “rigid” plastic items sent home with school meals at the District’s 82 serving locations can be recycled, too!

Celebrate America Recycles Day!

November 15th!
America’s recycling rate has increased over the last 30 years, but with only 35% of recyclables ending up in a blue bin, there is a lot of improvement that can be made.  This America’s Recycle Day (November 15th), why not sign the recycling pledge, encourage your family and friends to recycle right (at home, at school, and in the community), or conduct a litter clean-up in your own neighborhood!
Recycling saves resources, such as trees, as well as energy and water compared to goods made from new material.  There are many more benefits to recycling, too.  Let’s do this!
For more information, ideas, guides, and tools, click HERE.
Climate Action Activity Book
City of San Diego Resource
The City unveiled a new climate-focused activity book for youth, hoping to inspire creativity and teach kids about our environment.  The 20-page activity book is available at 24 San Diego Public Library book pickup locations and is available for download in English and Spanish on the City’s website.
Deadline: January 25, 2021
EarthX has announced the CALL FOR ENTRIES for the 2021 Eco-Art Competition for Student Artists in ages 5 through 22. The theme for the competition is No Time to Waste.
Looking for a fun way to incorporate art and the environment into your student learning? EarthX offers cash awards for students and competition entry is easy - just create, upload, give permission, write a short summary of the link to "No Time to Waste" and submit! We would love to showcase your student art submissions - please send us a photo of your student work!
  •  Monday, January 25, 2021 Finalists Announced: Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Resources from Strategic Energy Innovations
October is National Energy Awareness Month! Promote energy awareness through the bilingual Energy Challenge and the Green Careers Webinar Series through SEI’s Energize Schools program (9th-12th grades/adaptable to 6th-8th grades). Rally your student's school spirit and hit NGSS standards through engaging energy education and participate in live talks from sustainability professionals in a variety of topics.
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