Friday, February 15, 2013
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
A Green Welcome Back to School!
How will you Reduce, Reuse and Recycle this school year? The Green Team has some ideas!
First of all, a great way to reduce waste in the school cafeteria is to pack your child’s lunch using reusable containers. You can find these in many of our local stores or online. The list below has some great sites for these kinds of products.
www.resnackit.com - You can find snack bags, sandwich bags, hoagie bags, and other great ways to pack your kids lunches.
www.laptoplunches.com - It has eco-friendly lunch boxes that contain NO phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), or lead. It also has great ideas for packing healthy lunches.
www.kleankanteen.com - It offers safe alternative to plastic or lined aluminum bottles. It also offers an insulated bottle that does triple duty as a mug, a thermos and a food container. Insulated Kanteens® keep contents hot for up to 6 hours, while iced drinks stay frosty cold for more than 24 hrs.
The Green Team is very excited to help support the school’s new Engineering and Science Lab and together find ways to reuse everyday materials. We hope you will too, by collecting these materials at home and sending them to school on the weekly collection days. The following list indicates some of the items that will be collected.
plastic jugs buttons
plastic lids spools
water bottles craft sticks
yogurt or cottage cheese containers clothespins
vitamin containers corks
empty film canisters beads
berry baskets string
butter tubs and lids thread
heavy duty paper plates
laughing cow-cheese containers
The Green Team will continue to host Recycling Bonanzas in November and April, when we collect items such as empty glue sticks and Scotch tape dispensers. Last year we collected thousands of glue sticks and sent them to a company called TerraCycle. TerraCycle convert the collect waste into a wide variety of products and materials. We receive points for the items we send in and then can make donations to different charities. We accumulated enough points that we were able to make the following donations.
• Planting 4 trees in an American forest
• Adopting one acre of wildlife
• Giving clean water to two people for a year
We hope you will help us continue to make a difference by helping us collect these items for our Bonanzas!
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
On March 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm cities, towns and municipalities across the world will turn off their lights for one hour. It is call Earth Hour. Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when over two million individuals and thousands of businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. It has continued to grow each year. Last year, Earth Hour 2010 became the biggest Earth Hour ever. A record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action. Notable buildings and landmarks from all over the world switched off. People across the globe turned off their lights.
Friday, January 28, 2011
Bettie Weaver Elementary held another Recycling Roundup this past fall and we were very happy with the number of items that were brought in to be recycled and saved from being placed in landfills, so thank you to all that participated in this earth-friendly cause. BWE collects cell phones, digital cameras, printer cartridges, plastic grocery bags, yogurt cups, glue sticks, bottle caps, tape dispensers and tape cores. All of these are either taken to stores that recycle them, sent to recycling programs or used by the school's art teacher for projects.
With the success of the Recycling Roundup, we wanted to make you aware of more more items that can be recycled: #5 plastics - which includes yogurt cups, cream cheese, margarine, and sour cream containers can all be recycled. Whole Foods Grocery in Short Pump collects the #5 plastics, which we cannot place in our curbside recycling. Whole Foods uses them to make toothbrushes and razors. So please remember to clean them and save them to bring to Whole Foods the next time you shop there. And if you don’t shop at Whole Foods, you can send in to the next Recycling Roundup at BWE.
We also wanted to make you aware that Lowe's Home Improvement has added new recycling containers inside their store located at the West Koger Center. You can now bring your rechargeable batteries and energy efficient light bulbs to Lowe's for recycling. Batteries and energy efficient light bulbs contain mercury and should not be placed in the regular trash. As more of our light bulbs get replaced with these energy efficient bulbs it is nice to know you can bring your old ones to Lowe's anytime, instead of waiting once a year for Chesterfield County's special recycling days.
Lastly, one other item which can be recycled, if you are not aware, is pet's fur. Don’t laugh, donated pet fur was recycled and used as clean up material for Gulf Coast Oil Spill. Ask your dog groomer next time if they recycle the fur! Or if you groom your pets yourself and need ideas on how to fur-recycle check out this website.www.ecosalon.com/how-to-make-pet-hair-work-for-you-not-against-you/
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Last week I attended a webcast organized the the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) Green Schools Advocacy Group. Tim Cole, the Sustainable Schools Project Manager for Virginia Beach City Public School (VBCPS) presented a slide show on VBCPS's successes in green building. Mr. Cole has been working with the school system for 8 years and his story is a wake up call in the midst of our budget crisis.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Lately, many of us have been focused on the CCPS and state education budget discussions. Unfortunately, there has not been much good news to pull from them.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
I just read the article “Paper or plastic? Maybe neither:” in the Washington Post on Saturday, January 2. Washington D.C. now has a user fee on plastic and paper bags at stores that sell food and/or alcohol. If you need a bag from the store you will be charged five cents. It is one of the toughest measures in the country. But they hope to produce large revenue to help clean up the Anacostia River, where 21% of the pollution is plastic bags.
I have been using reuseable bags now for over two years. And I was encouraged to see that Target now gives five cents back when you use your own bags. Grocery stores have also been trying to use positive measures to get people to use their own bags, however I don’t think a large percentage of people are taking advantage.
I know it would be very controversial to have such a tax, but when I drive down a road like Midlothian Turnpike and see many plastic bags on the side of the road (usually across from Walmart), I think we need to do something more.
Here are some interesting sites to learn more:
Saturday, December 5, 2009
From Thanksgiving to the end of the holiday season, Americans increase their amount of waste by up to 30%. Here are some suggestions to help reduce that number:
- Give the gift of food, and if possible, make it local food. This gift can save them time (no need to shop for a snack or coming up with a meal) while supporting a local business or farmer. Local farmers markets such as the Goochland Farmers Market or the Winter Market are a great place to start. Don't forget local restaurants and coffee shops.
- Give the gift of your time. Offer babysitting services or a coffee date with a friend.
- Give the gift of service. A massage or manicure at a local spa doesn't come encased in plastic and helps to put your money into you pockets of people who live in your community.
- Check out antique shops or flea markets. When you buy from these shops you can be assured that your gift is unique and its carbon footprint is old news.
- Think about your wrappings. Use reusable gift bags or wrap your gift in a scarf or a box that can be reused for keepsakes.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Last week in Washington, DC, teams from various academic institutions around the world competed in the U. S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathalon. For two years, students and teachers at the participating institutions designed and construct their approximately 800 square ft. houses. Their houses were dismantled and transported to the Mall in DC and rebuilt. From October 8-16, the houses competed in ten categories including architecture, net metering, hot water, market viability and home entertainment.
In the end, Team Germany beat everyone else. But check out the DOE website for virtual tours and details on the houses. Mark your calendar for 2011, when the Solar Decathlon will return to DC.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Now that the weather has cooled off (not that we had a HOT summer), now is the time to take advantage of the great natural resources Virginia has to offer.
Want to try a backpacking adventure or explore one of our areas more pristine islands? Check out the Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Guide. Look under "Outdoor Adventure and Nature Programs" to see the variety of activities they offer. Of special interest to me: A Mommy and Me Backpacking Trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains at the end of October (kids 5 -10 are age-appropriate for this trip).
We are so lucky to have the James River and are additionally blessed to have a great organization in charge of enhancing and protecting the James and Appomattox Rivers. Friends of Chesterfield's Riverfront is a non-profit organization that brings together land owners, corporations and concerned citizens to address the rivers in our area. Are you interested in playing a larger role in the protection of the James? Check out Chesterfield WaterTrends, a group of volunteers trained in Water Monitoring. The next session is October 3rd and you could be part of it!
If you try any of these suggestions or have some of your own, please share your experiences and feedback with us. The more time we spend outside, the more we will appreciate and take care of the resources around us!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Our cafeteria is crying out for a little TLC in the form of waste-reduction. This is one of the easiest steps to take and not only is it good for the environment, it is GREAT for your wallet!
My children are starting their 3rd year using the Laptop Lunches Bento Systems and we have found them to be an inspiration in lunch creativity. BWES families can get the original Bento System for $29.99 and the new 2.0 system for $31.99 (over 20% off of the retail price). Contact Jenny Childress for an order form (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Obviously, many families aren't in the market for new lunchboxes this year. Never fear! There are many options out there to reduce the waste packed in lunches: use Gladware or Rubbermaid containers or Bento Buddies (containers only) instead of ziploc bags. Check out KidsKonserve, another waste-free lunch option that offers stainless steel containers and alternatives to baggies. And while you shop for school supplies or groceries, keep your eyes open for cloth napkins and BPA-free plastic or aluminum bottles going on clearance.
Finally, ask your kids to bring home whatever they can't eat so that you can have a better understanding of the amount of food they actually consume. It is amazing how much food gets thrown away in an elementary school cafeteria. By having a better idea of the quantity of food your kids eat, you save money and help the environment. Sounds like a great way to start the school year.
This just in! Check out how colleges are looking to reduce waste in their cafeterias.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
In addition to shopping secondhand and antique shops, you can recycle your stuff and make some extra cash by consigning clothes and accessories, toys, and other household goods you no longer use. From a $3.25 Razor scooter to a $200 Louis Vuitton clutch, metro Richmond is filled with resale and consignments shops that offer something for everyone. Here are some of our local favorites*:
Upscale, designer women’s clothing and accessories
9744 Gayton Crossing, 754-1163
One of the area’s largest used bookstores
13198 Midlothian Tpke, 379-2642
Classic and traditional clothing and accessories for men, women, and children
5726 Patterson Ave, B, 288-4700
Bygones Vintage Clothing
Men's and women’s clothing and accessories circa 1900-1970
2916 W Cary St, 353-1919
Children's Market & Exchange
All things infant and children
2926 W Cary St, 359-6950
Clementine. (owned by Weaver moms Jane Crooks and Lyn Page)
Hip and trendy clothing and accessories for teens to moms
3118 W Cary St, 358-2357
Clothing and accessories for women and children, home furnishings, antiques
2470 Anderson Highway, Powhatan, 598-9177
Furniture and home décor
5517 Lakeside Ave, 261-3600
Women’s clothing, prom dresses, formal wear
3020 Stony Point Rd, 267-1991
Antiques, home accessories, books, and other estate liquidation
2724 Tinsley Dr, 560-4015
Halcyon Vintage Clothing
Men's and women’s clothing and accessories circa 1960-1980; cocktail dresses circa 1940-1970
117 N Robinson St, 358-1311
Upscale furniture and home décor
431 N Ridge Rd, 288-7300
Women’s plus-size clothing and accessories
1551 N Parham Rd, 282-1312
Antiques and collectibles
1735 Summit Ave, 358-5827
Midlothian Antiques Center
Vintage clothing, furniture, prints, household goods, antiques
13591 Midlothian Tpke, 897-4913
Tumbleweed Used Books
Classics, children, large print, Virginia history, mysteries
2715 Buford Rd, 440-9333
*Everyone knows about the national chains and franchises. We chose to list only locally owned businesses for this article
What are some of your favorite consignment resale shops in the metro Richmond area and why? Any feedback on any of the shops listed here? We'd love to hear from you!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Check out Richmond's very own environmental film festival, The BIGGEST Picture. It takes place at the Byrd Theatre in Carytown on May 16th and 17th. What a great excuse to cross the river and experience some urban culture.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
This entry is titled "Win/Win/Win" because buying local has so many advantages. By supporting your local farms you get fresher and tastier products, pump your dollars back into the local economy, and you decrease your carbon footprint because your strawberries are from Virginia and not California.
We are lucky - we have so many options when it comes to buying local. Check out the newest Farmer's Market in the West End open on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. The Great Big Greenhouse will be hosting the Huguenot-Robious Farmer's Market on Thursdays starting in June. Additional area Farmers' Markets are listed here.
If you have a hard time getting to a market, you can check out some local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture: You purchase a farm "share" and weekly or bi-weekly you get what the farm has harvested. It is a great way to introduce new veggies to your family and try new recipes). Through the Fall Line Farms Co-op, you can order fruit, vegetables, beef, lamb, chicken, pork, pasta, breads and much more through their website (for an initial fee). Select a pickup location (the Southside option is the locally-owned store Gather).
Finally, if becoming a locavore seems like a noble goal to you, Local Harvest is a terrific resource, it even lists restaurants that purchase their produce and meats from local farms. Additionally, there is a new Buy Fresh, Buy Local site for Richmond in the works.
- Turn off computers, monitors and lights at the end of the day.
- Turn off audiovisual equipment in training and conference rooms, as well as classrooms, when not in use.
- Set up computers to power down when not in use.
- Unplug mobile phone chargers anytime that you are not using them.
- Reduce the number of electrical devices at your desk or work station or in your classroom.
- Clear space in front of air duct supply and return grills to ensure that heating and air conditioning equipment isn't obstructed.
Monday, April 20, 2009
This video does a better job than I ever could of explaining the process. But I did learn some interesting facts. TFC collects recycling from 247,000 households every other week. Their drivers are paid by the ton, which makes them happy on rainy days and also ensures that they collect as much recycling as they possibly can! They can only recycle narrow necked plastics with a 1 or 2, no fruit containers! And TFC is in the business to make money, so they are keeping their eyes on commodity prices, sending their aluminum to Kentucky and newspaper to Georgia and cardboard to China, where they get the most $$, that is where they send it.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Alkaline batteries (no damaged batteries, please)
Cell phones (chargers, too)
Travel sized toiletries (for Embrace Richmond)
Children's magazines-gently used (for the CCPS free teacher store From Crayons to Computers)
Yogurt cups (no Yoplait or multipaks, please)
Plastic shopping bags
Packing materials (bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts)
Thursday, April 2, 2009
And many people mistakenly believe that paper bags are a much more eco-friendly option. Check out this chart from the Washington Post.
In the end, a reusable bag is the best way to go!