GreenYes Digest V98 #232

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GreenYes Digest Thu, 5 Nov 98 Volume 98 : Issue 232

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Loop-Detect: GreenYes:98/232

Date: Wed, 4 Nov 1998 10:14:30 -0500
From: "Bill Sheehan" <>
Subject: The Kids Get It! -- ZERO WASTE SCHOOLS

The kids get it!
Below are news articles about three
public schools that have adopted zero
waste programs. Please send us news of

- Hurley Elementary School, Visalia,
- Charlottesville, Va., School System,
- Oak Hills Elementary School in Oak
Park, Calif.

-- GrassRoots Recycling Network


[The Fresno Bee, June 7, 1998]


By Lynda Thullen

Hurley Elementary School might become
California's first zero-waste school,
thanks to a group of energetic fifth-

Linda Bastrire's class started a
three-phase project last fall with the
goal of recycling every bit of waste
produced on the campus. The first two
phases are complete, and the school has
cut the amount of garbage it generates
from 1.5 tons per month to nearly zero.
The third phase, composting food scraps,
starts in August.

"It's cool to be the only school in
California doing this," said Clark Avery,
one of Bastrire's students. "We hope now
to get the whole city doing this."

The project earned the school a
second-place regional award in the Jiminy
Cricket Environmentality Challenge, a
statewide contest sponsored by the Walt
Disney Company and the State of
California Environmental Education
Interagency Network.

Bastrire's fifth-graders set up the
program with the help of Kathy Onsurez,
conservation coordinator for the City of

"This is a neat school," Onsurez said.
"They did this whole thing themselves. It
was great."

The students started out by
researching the types of waste the school
generated. They found out that mulching
mowers take care of grass clippings,
water is recycled at the city's
wastewater treatment plant and classroom
waste is taken to a recycling center. The
only waste going to the landfill was from
the cafeteria.

"We found out 320 food trays were
being thrown away every day, and the milk
cartons," Avery said.

The next step was a school survey.

"We asked everyone if they thought the
stuff was recycled," said student Lindsay
Porter. Of the 450 students and staff
members surveyed, 225 thought the
cafeteria waste was recycled.

The students interviewed the cafeteria
supervisor, the school custodian, their
parents and even the owner of a local
McDonald's about recycling.

Finally, they were ready to put their
knowledge to work. With Onsurez's help,
the students set up their cafeteria
recycling center with the theme "Stop,
pop and drop."

First, students empty their milk
cartons in a bucket and put cartons in
one trash can. Then they move to the next
can, pop in their uneaten food, and put
the tray on a third can. Students were
taught the process at assemblies, and
Bastrire's fifth-graders supervised the
lunch sessions to make sure everyone
followed instructions. By the end of the
school year, the regular cafeteria staff
was handling the program.

The next phase will start in the fall
when Bastrire's students, then sixth-
graders, use worms to turn the food
scraps into compost. The compost will be
placed in the school's flowerbeds.

The students received a plaque for
their second-place finish in the Jiminy
Cricket Environmentality Challenge, and
T-shirts and a yo-yo made from recycled
plastic from the city. But their biggest
reward, they said, is the satisfaction
of knowing they are approaching their
zero-waste goal.

"It feels kind of good knowing we're
helping the Earth get clean and not have
so much waste," said Michael Evans.

Peter Vlazakis can see the long-term
benefits of the project.

"My family is in farming, and if we
don't get rid of the trash, there won't
be any land left to farm when I take over
the business." Erin Goldstrom said
recycling didn't interest her until her
class started the zero-waste project.

"I'm proud of what we're doing to help
the environment," she said.


[The Daily News of Los Angeles July 6,


By David Greenberg Daily News Staff

When an Oak Park environmental group
implemented its ''zero-trash policy'' at
Oak Hills Elementary School about four
years ago, many parents were less than

''There was some resistance at first
from all us crazy moms,'' said Sharon
Iker, a parent and member of the
Environmental Awareness Committee. ''We
had to go out and buy all this
Tupperware and then make our kids
responsible for bringing it back home at
the end of every day. It was a lesson for
us and for the kids.''

But through efforts spearheaded by
Principal Tony Knight, the school is now
recycling, reusing or taking home all
packaging from school lunches.

For that reason and other
environmentally sound practices, Oak
Hills joined the Ronald Reagan
Presidential Library as two east Ventura
County entities that earned the county
Solid Waste Management Department's
WasteWatch '98 awards.

''I credit Tony Knight for having the
vision, knowing he was going to get some
flack for it in the beginning,'' said
Iker. ''Once everybody got into the
habit, it was no big deal (to comply).''

Knight could not be reached for

The awards, also given to five west
county businesses, are part of the
county's ongoing effort to reduce waste
by 50 percent to the Simi Valley and
Santa Paula landfills by the year 2000 as
mandated by a 1989 state law. Through
WasteWatch and other educational and
implementation programs, the county
reduced its waste by 34 percent - from
154,000 to 103,000 tons annually - from
1990 through 1996, when the last audit
was completed.

''Ventura County has been very
conscientious over the last eight years
to identify the sources of waste and
develop programs to help divert the
materials,'' said Marialyce Pedersen,
commercial recycling specialist.

She said he believes the county will
meet the state's mandate with stepped up
efforts in Wastewatch. Through the
program Pedersen and other waste
management experts visit and advise
schools, businesses, churches and other
organizations them on how to reduce

Since 1991, the department has made
only 62 contacts - many large businesses
- but plans to make about 200 more in the
next 1-1/2 years.

''We figure the next best target are
the (small) businesses,'' Petersen said.

The Reagan Library, which opened in
November 1991, already had a recycling
program. But with the county's
encouragement last year, its 27 staff
members and roughly 200 volunteers began
segregating its recyclables into
different bins for paper and newspapers,
cardboard, cans and bottles.

This reduced the amount of sorting for
haulers and recycling facilities.

The award left Al Johnson, the
facilities manager, pleasantly surprised.

''I didn't think what we had done was
that significant,'' he said. ''But the
county seems to think it was significant.
It's an encouragement for us to continue
to do a better job.''

Oak Hills' zero-waste policy also
includes the purchase and use of several
products made from recycled materials,
including copy papers, molded pulp lunch
trays, paper towels, facial and toilet
tissue, pencils, stationary and

The products have a minimum 50 percent
recycled content.

While Oak Hills students adhere to the
zero-waste policy initially because
they are told to do so, Iker said her
daughter Rachel, now entering the eighth
grade, continues to use Tupperware
products even though Medea Creek Middle
School in Oak Park has no policy.

''The kids like doing this,'' she
said. ''They know the reason why. They
still believe in it. Now they are doing
it for the right reasons - helping the


[Business Wire, March 16, 1998]


March 16, 1998--Biocorp Inc., a leader in
the biodegradable industry, Monday
reported that the Charlottesville, Va.,
School System has designated Biocorp, as
the major supplier of biodegradable
"plastic" food serviceware and trash
bags, in the broad-based pilot benched in
Charlottesville Tuesday.

The project, which will use Biocorp's
fully biodegradable and compostable
cutlery, cups and trash bags, is aimed at
achieving " zero waste" in the school
cafeterias. Instead of "dumping" the
food waste, cutlery and garbage bags at
the local landfills, the project will use
Biocorp products to recycle everything
through local compost facilities to
produce new, clean topsoil for area uses.

Frederic Scheer, president of
Biocorp, who will attend the launch,
commented: "The project addresses two
environmental problems. We must
replenish and restore our nation's topat
have been lost through erosion or
contaminated with pollutants. The
Charlottesville project will recycle food
waste and eating utensils into new soil.
We also need to reduce waste and litter
from disposable 'plastics' by using
biodegradables that can be fully

Scheer noted: "Biocorp is proud to be
designated as industry partner in this
foresighted effort. We look forward to
assisting Charlottesville in making this

In Kentucky, New Jersey, California
and Hawaii, bills have been introduced
recently to limit the use of disposable
plastic. Nearly 113 billion disposable
cups, 39 billion disposable eating
utensils and 29 billion disposable plates
are annually used in the United States.
McDonald's has already switched to
Biodegradables in Germany and Austria.

Scheer added: "Biodegradable 'plastics'
are widely accepted in Europe and are
becoming an important component in the
U.S. waste management strategy. The
current $ 250 million initial public
offering by Earthshell, which is
developing a biodegradable 'clam shell'
for fast food but expects no revenues
until late 1999, confirms the market
interest in a new direction for waste
management. The Charlottesville project
offers a mainstream test of the new

Biocorp, based in California, holds
the exclusive North American rights to
the patented, fully biodegradable Mater-
Bi resins. Its trash bags are currently
distributed in selected areas in the
United States and Canada through
municipalities, national retailers such
as Target, Wal-Mart and in regional
chains. The food serviceware is being
introduced in several fast food chains
and institutions.

Biocorp's food serviceware
incorporates cornstarch, cottonseed and
other natural substances and biodegrades
in compost within 60 days. The trash
bags contain no polyethylene and
decompose into natural elements in
compost in less than 40 days.

CONTACT: Biocorp Inc., Allan Graf,

Bill Sheehan
Network Coordinator
GrassRoots Recycling Network
P.O. Box 49283
Athens GA 30604-9283
Tel: 706-613-7121
Fax: 706-613-7123


End of GreenYes Digest V98 #232