Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!
Welcome to San Diego Unified's
Recycling & Zero Waste Newsletter
**December 2021 Edition**
Welcome to the December 2021 edition of the Recycling & Zero Waste newsletter for San Diego Unified teachers, staff, students, parents, and volunteers!   

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!
  • FOCUS on Holiday Waste Reduction 
  • Holiday Craft Ideas Using Natural Materials
  • Teaching & Learning: Digital Footprint, Virtual Field Trips, & More
  • Grants/Contests/Other Opportunities
  • December Dates to Celebrate
  • Environmental Education Resources
  • Other Resources
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Waste Less this Holiday Season!

This holiday season, give the planet a gift by getting closer to zero waste. Check out these tips:

Planning your feast: Eliminate single-use items and opt to use real dishes when setting the table. Compost food scraps after your meals. Learn how HERE. Discover ways to reduce food waste this holiday season HERE.

Gift wrap: Use cloth napkins, scarves, or cloth bags. Try old maps, newspaper, or easy-to decorate brown paper bags for some added character that can be easily recycled.

Gift ideas:

-  Give a Zero Waste Eating Out Kit complete with a metal straw, reusable utensils, a cloth napkin, a reusable container for leftovers, an insulated coffee mug, a reusable water bottle, and a nice cloth bag to hold it all.

-  Give gifts that are good for the environment. Make "coupons" for ways you can help your family, friends, or co-workers; create hand-made gifts from items you have at home.

-  Donate to a local food bank, such as San Diego Food Bank or Feeding San Diego in honor of a loved one.

Recycle unwanted or non-working holiday lights: Find how and why recycling holiday lights is a good idea! Find another option HERE.

Holiday tree recycling: 
-  The City of San Diego’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program runs from Dec. 26 – Jan. 23 for City residents only. There are multiple drop-off locations, as well as pick-up services for City of San Diego residential customers with greenery collection service.

- For those that don't live in the city of San Diego, most waste haulers will collect cut up trees if placed in green waste recycling carts.  Check with your waste hauler or municipality for Christmas tree recycling information!

(This information was edited from an article by Seven Generations Ahead)


Project Learning Tree

By Rebecca Reynandez

Pinecones, sticks, and even milkweed pods can make great holiday decorations. Working with natural materials helps students form deeper connections with the outside world. Infuse some holiday cheer into your lessons and make seasonal wreaths, ornaments, and other décor with these art projects using natural materials.
Learn More


Check out these Resources 

California Academy of Sciences

Your Digital Footprint: Data and Energy Use

Grade level: 6-10
Length: 2.5 minutes
NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas: MS-ESS3.C

Cell phones and laptops use energy to charge their batteries. But did you know that sending emails, texts, and Snapchats requires much more energy?

In this video from the Exploring Energy unit of Flipside Science, we'll investigate how digital data use consumes energy. We've outlined sample discussion questions that you can use in conjunction with this video to get your students thinking critically about their own digital energy footprints.
Watch Now

Nature Conservancy Virtual Field Trips

Explore the world with the Nature Conservancy’s Virtual Field Trips. Designed for ages 9-15, but customizable for all ages, these videos allow students to travel the world and explore natural environments without leaving their home or classroom. Each field trip contains a video, teacher guide, and student activities that have a special focus on making the connection between what students see on the screen and taking action in their own cities and towns. 

More Teaching & Learning Resources!

Designing Climate Resilient Schoolyards
​​​​When: Mon, Dec. 6 from 9:30 – 10:30 p.m. PST  

Green Schoolyards that are thoughtfully designed with climate resilience and health in mind can improve stormwater management, create cool play spaces, generate renewable energy, all while supporting health, equity, and community connections. Join the Center for Green Schools and our expert speakers to hear about their success in transforming public schoolyards into resilient spaces using reflective coatings and surfaces, stormwater management strategies, shade trees, student education, and more.
School Building Science Fridays
Join the Collaborative for High Performance Schools on the 2nd Friday of each month to learn how the science behind school buildings supports student, educator, and staff health, safety, and success. 

December 10 @ 11:00 a.m PT: Building Operators as School Building Scientists
Upcoming Teacher Workshops
The California Academy of Sciences has some upcoming workshops for the Spring semester:
Let's Go Outside! (Grades preK-3+)
Saturday, January 22 | Online workshop

In the schoolyard or at home, how can we help all young learners to engage with and learn from the world around them?

Exploring your Environment with Math and Science (Grades 3-5)
Saturday, March 19 | Online workshop

Science and math overlap in fascinating ways. But what does this actually mean for instruction? Join us to explore how students can think as mathematicians and scientists, bringing skills from both fields to figure things out about the natural world.

World-wide Teach-In Climate/Justice
On March 30, 2022, help mobilize half a million people,  in-person and online,  in a one-day WORLWIDE TEACH-IN on climate solutions and  justice in the transition. There are easy-to-organize models for teach-ins for colleges, universities, high school/middle school, K-6 and faith communities.  Engage hundreds of members of your campus and community in critical dialogue on just climate solutions. 

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


December 7: Pearl Harbor Day
December 10: Human Rights Day

December 12:  Poinsettia Day
December 21:  Winter Solstice
December 25:  Christmas Day
December 31:  New Year's Eve
Check out What's Available

California Academy of Sciences: Flipside Science -  Flipside Science is a youth-powered series that tackles complex environmental topics and empowers viewers to make a difference.

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 Network - 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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