Celebrate America Recycles Day!
Celebrate America Recycles Day!
Welcome to San Diego Unified's
Recycling & Zero Waste Newsletter
**November 2021 Edition**
Welcome to the November 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!
  • Celebrate America Recycles Day - NOV 15th
  • FOCUS on Waste Reduction & Recycling
  • Teaching About Waste & Recycling  
  • Grants/Contests/Other Opportunities
  • November Dates to Celebrate
  • Environmental Education Resources
  • Other Resources
Visit our Website


November 15th
America Recycles Day
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!


Resources & Information 


Zero waste lunchrooms give students the opportunity to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost (currently through the Café to Compost program) to take action on climate change each and every day.

Students that bring lunch from home can incorporate reusable containers and utensils for a Zero Waste Lunch.

Recycling lunch trays, paper "boats," milk cartons, juice boxes, and plastic and metal containers helps to reduce trash collection costs while contributing feedstock to make new products.  This process uses less energy and reduces the need to extract new raw materials, which reduces the use of fossil fuels.

Composting leftover fruits and vegetables in school gardens through the Café to Compost program keeps food out of landfills, avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions created when food and other organic materials decompose in the absence of oxygen. 
Even with some changes how school meals are served, it is still possible to implement waste reduction measures at lunch:
  • Check out our Reducing Food Waste @ School flier for school administration
  • Set up sorting stations in the lunch court. Signage can be provided or is available on our website at:  https://www.sdusdsustainability.com/resources
  • Promote zero waste lunches from home and the use of reusable water bottles.
  • Employ Offer v. Serve for milk in the school café. 
  • Set up “Unwanted Meal Bag” rescue stations at school exits and deliver to the kitchen for food recovery, if possible.
  • Check out our website for more signage, resources, and information on recycling and waste reduction at school. 
  • Check out Seven Generations Ahead (Illinois) Zero Waste Schools Toolkit for many other helpful recycling and waste reduction resources that could be incorporated at SDUSD schools.
  • Show students the "Sort Like Crazy" video below from Mr. Eco!
  • Contact Janet Whited, Recycling Specialist, at jwhited@sandi.net for assistance!


There are a lot of little things you can do to help jump start your school's recycling program. Encourage everyone on campus to Choose Blue! This means putting all recyclable paper, cardboard, designated plastics, and beverage containers in the blue classroom recycling bins and not in the trash!  If students or staff use the recycling bin as a trash can, well, that causes problems, too. Recyclables need to be kept separated from trash.  It only takes a second to choose the right bin.

Recyclables collected from classrooms and school offices need to make it to the large blue recycling dumpster outside.  Sometimes the Building Services Supervisors (BSS), or high school Plant Operations Supervisors (POS), or their staff are able to do that, but often times they need help.  At some schools student groups, such as Student Council, ASB, a Special Education class, or an Environmental Club are in charge of campus recycling.  They do a great job of helping their school and the environment.
If your school does not have a group in charge of recycling, consider starting one!  This is a great opportunity for student leadership. Students could help by collecting recyclables before or after school, during lunch, or at another time during the day.  Below, Sandburg Elementary Green Team students are enthusiastic recyclers!
For more information and tips on recycling, click the buttons below:
Elementary Schools
Middle & High Schools
SDUSD's Recycling Handbook


Check out these Resources 

Grades of Green

Grades of Green provides a pathway of programs to empower and inspire students of all ages and backgrounds to become environmental leaders of the future. Every program is FREE for teachers, students, and parents.
Their programs include:

LAUNCH Project Toolkits
Educators of grades K-5 and students grades 6-12 use flight-ready Project Toolkits to create long-lasting environmental impact.

RISE Campaigns
Student teams in grades 6-12 join a year-long Climate Solutions Campaign to tackle local environmental challenges and bring global change.

SOAR Leadership Academy
Students become powerful environmental leaders through one-on-one mentorship.

EPA's The Planet Protectors: Activities for Kids

EPA's Planet Protectors offers a number of fun and engaging activites for kids.  As a Planet Protector, your mission is to improve the world around you by making less trash. Planet Protectors also help other people learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

To carry out this mission, check out the fun activities on their website. The more you learn about reducing wastes and saving resources, the better you become at carrying out the Planet Protector goals. Are you a teacher interested in starting a Planet Protector’s Club in your classroom? Learn more on our resource page for teachers. Spanish language versions of these activities are available on the website.

More Waste Reduction Teaching & Learning Resources!


SDUSD Recycling Challenge – Now through March 1, 2022 - Recycle & Win! - The annual Recycling Challenge encourages schools to divert as much as possible from landfill disposal through expanded recycling efforts, waste reduction, and education. Monetary prizes totaling $5,500 will be award to two schools in elementary, middle, and high school categories. For more information, click HEREThe Challenge runs from September 2021 – March 1, 2022.  Winners will be announced in April 2022.
Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge - Every year hundreds of schools across the nation compete to recycle the most plastic film.  The contest begins on America Recycles Day (Nov. 15th) and lasts until April 15th.  Schools are provided promotional materials and three recycling bins. The winning school will receive a high performance composite bench!  Winners are announced on Earth Day.  For more information, click HEREDeadline:  April 15th
K-12 Coastal Art & Poetry Contest - This contest is open to California residents in grades K-12. There are five grade categories for awards in both art and poetry: K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. Entries must have a California coastal or ocean theme.  Click HERE for more information. Entries due by January 31, 2022

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


November: Native American Heritage Month

November 1: World Vegan Day

November 15: America Recycles Day! (Celebrate, pledge, spread the word!)

November 17: Take a Hike Day

November 25th:  Thanksgiving Day! Enjoy your break!
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.

powered by emma