Grades of Green is a PTA supported program committed to increase environmental awareness through education and inspire and empower students and the school community by teaching them small things they can do today to make a difference on Planet Earth for generations to come.
In fourth grade, students can join the Green Team. This is a group of students that are interested in making Pacific as green as we can be! They will help out at lunch time with the Lunch Sorting Program as well as help come up with other green ideas that can be used around campus. We will have meetings once a month at lunchtime to discuss our efforts and ideas. Please contact Sharda Fabrizio with any questions.
Here are some Grades of Green tips:
According to the U.S. Postal Service, more than 100 billion pieces of unwanted bulk mail are delivered every year. That’s billion with a B! It takes more than 100 million trees to make enough paper for all of this junk mail! Putting a stop to it is easier than ever. Catalog Choice is an online service that allows you to identify unwanted mail. Simply sign up for free on their website, then input the information from each bulk mailing. They will take care of removing you from the marketers’ lists. Need an even easier option? Once you’ve signed up, download their free smart phone app MailStop Mobile. Use the app to take a picture of the undesired catalog or ad circular and they will handle it from there. Another free app offering the same service is PaperKarma. Take the first step in reducing your junk mail. Your mail carrier will certainly thank you!
“Alternative giving” is a growing trend. It’s an environmentally-friendly way of giving a gift that doesn’t involve the purchase of a tangible item which may or may not be desired or needed by the recipient. It’s a chance to say “We all have enough stuff, don’t we?” without denying the fun of giving or receiving a gift. How about giving the gift of an aerial fitness class? A handmade coupon for a movie and pizza play date? Why not offer to babysit or walk the dog for the hostess of the party? You can plant a tree in someone’s honor, or make a charitable contribution. Families can learn more about the world when they choose to donate a flock of baby chicks to a family in Cameroon via Heifer International, or give the gift of clean drinking water via charity:water. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination!
MAKE IT DO
As Americans, we are only 5% of the world’s population, yet we use 30% of the Earth’s resources. We are consuming much more than our fair share. New York City mom and entrepreneur Meg Hourihan resolved to spend 2012 making do with what she already has. You can read about her experiences and challenges on her blog at http://makeit.do/ Care to join in? That’s easy! Make a personal pledge, for the length of time of your choosing, to consume less by doing the following:
- Use it up: Only replace things after you use them up (e.g., food, toiletries, makeup).
- Wear it out: Don't buy new clothes or products unless they fall apart and cannot be mended.
- Make it do: Live with (and be content with) what you have.
- Do without: Don't go beyond your means, and borrow things when you need to.
The whole family can participate and learn from the experience.
VINEGAR – IT’S NOT JUST FOR COLORING EASTER EGGS!
As we focus on being more environmentally friendly, we should look at the toxic cleansers and detergents we use to clean our homes. Instead of using store-bought commercial products, why not whip up a batch of homemade cleaning solution? White vinegar is not only inexpensive, but a solution of 95% water and 5% vinegar, mixed in a clean spray bottle rather than an empty bottle left from a commercial cleanser, is capable of killing all types of bacteria, as well as many molds and viruses. If you don’t care for the smell of vinegar, not to worry. It dissipates more rapidly than the odors from commercial cleansers, and it’s non-toxic. Cornstarch, Borax, lemon juice and baking soda also have multiple uses around the house. Check out a site like eartheasy for more information on home remedies and recipes for everything from window cleaners to rust removers and shoe polish.
SAFE DISPOSAL OF MEDICATIONS
Is one of your New Year's Resolutions to clean out your medicine cabinet? You may find that you have unused pharmaceuticals that have expired. These items should be disposed of in an environmentally-safe manner, preferably through a Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Program. Manhattan Beach offers residents a convenient option for disposing of unwanted controlled substances. You may take expired or unwanted prescription medications and over-the-counter remedies to the Manhattan Beach Police Department's Drug Disposal Drop box, located in the Manhattan Beach Civic Center parking lot.
Scientists are finding traces of prescription drugs in our ground water, soil, waterways and even our drinking water! You have the power to reduce pharmaceutical pollution by purchasing as few medications as possible and by disposing of expired medications properly.
CAN IT BE RECYCLED?
Recycling can be confusing at times. We hear conflicting information about what can and can’t be recycled. We’re fortunate that our waste management company allows us to lump all recyclable items together in one bin. They do the sorting for us! We can make their jobs a little easier by making sure the items in our blue bins are, indeed, recyclable. The Los Angeles Times has compiled a great list of the items most often asked about, along with a detailed account of which cities’ waste management companies allow the items to be recycled. Manhattan Beach specifically appears on the list several times. Take a moment to test your knowledge of whether you can toss those wooden chopsticks or empty deodorant containers. You may be surprised by the answers! Check it out here.
GO GREEN LUNCHBOXES
To PURCHASE a Go Green Lunch Box, please contact Tawnya Jackson. By purchasing through Tawnya, Pacific PTA earns money. Thanks!
Ways to make a ‘GREEN’ difference today & every day
Try one of the suggestions below or come up with your own idea
*Only take what you know you can eat. Our eyes can be bigger than our stomachs...you can usually get more if you are still hungry.
*”Want Not, Waste Not”- eat your food as fresh as possible so you receive more nutrients while at the same time NOT wasting.
*Bring home what you don’t eat in your packed lunch or snack.
*Go “CAR FREE” for a day once in a while. Enjoy MB while you walk or
*When you are in your car, combine your stops so you spend less time
driving to and from places.
*When stopping in front of school or someone’s home, turn off your ignition.
*REUSE, reuse, reuse. How can you reuse something? Ask your friends
and family for ideas.
* SWAP & SHARE games, books, clothes, etc. instead of always buying new.
* Visit the library for books instead of the bookstore.
* Purchase food and items grown or made as close to home as possible.
* Make sure your recycling materials are basically clean and dry. Wet or gooey items contaminate our recycling materials so they cannot be recycled & end up in the landfill.
* Use reusable bags and containers...try to take home as few shopping bags as possible.
* Conserve energy...you know how...’unplug’, ‘shut down’ or ‘turn off’.
* Pick up trash near streets so it doesn’t go down the storm drain.
* Keep your home at a comfortable temperature by opening or closing windows instead of using your heat and air conditioning.
Check out Grades of Green monthly EARTH TIPS for more ideas...if you have a tip you would like to contribute, please send it to Sharda Fabrizio.