Friday, December 11, 2009

A Tidbit about Styrofoam Coffee Cups

. Friday, December 11, 2009

From the December "Elmer's Glue Crew" newsletter:
According to Recycling Revolution, Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups every year. Reduce your impact on the environment by enjoying your morning cup of joe in a reusable mug.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Can School Lunches Be Inexpensive and Organic?

. Tuesday, December 1, 2009

USA Today published an interesting article today, titled Healthy, organic and cheap school lunches? Order up. It shares the story of a company called Revolution Foods... a company that has successfully figured out how to provide healthy, all natural meals for under $3 each! They are currently serving 235 school districts in California, Colorado, and the District of Columbia. The article is a tad long, but definitely interesting!


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hanover County Schools Encourage Students to Walk to School

. Sunday, November 29, 2009

There was a story in today's Richmond Times Dispatch that describes the efforts of several schools in Hanover County to get their students to walk... not unlike what we're doing at RES with our Walking Bus effort, and our participation in a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant. At Laurel Meadow ES, educators are teaching students about how to stay safe as a pedestrian. They won a SRTS grant last year, which is helping to fund the educational efforts. This year, John M. Gandy and Henry Clay elementary schools are also applying for SRTS grant money.

Click here to read the full story.


Friday, November 20, 2009

RES Holds First Walking Bus of the Year

. Friday, November 20, 2009

Mother nature thwarted us last Friday, but the rain and wind cleared for this morning's Walking Bus. Despite the cool weather, many families decided to enjoy the morning sun and walk to school. We witnessed buses from Roxshire, Queen's Park, and other local neighborhoods.

This was the first of four "official" walking buses that are planned for this year, so if you missed it, don't worry. There will be additional opportunities to get out and look for your classmates also walking to school. And, if you happen to participate in the Wednesday Running Club, consider a brisk warm-up walk to school on Wednesday mornings, too.

If you participated in the walking bus (or if you didn't), post your comments here on what worked, what didn't, and what could make it better. Or email


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Robious Elementary School launches TerraCycle Capri Sun pouch recycling campaign

. Wednesday, November 18, 2009

In honor of America Recycles Day, Robious Elementary School has started to collect empty CapriSun pouches, which will be sent to TerraCycle to be manufactured into nifty shoulder bags. Students who bring CapriSun in their lunch should be on the lookout for a separate recycling receptacle in the lunchroom.

Learn more about TerraCycle and what they do with "trash" by clicking here.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

WOW: What Outrageous Waste

. Thursday, November 12, 2009

Check out this video that a Midlothian Middle School 6th grader (Teddy Lutge) created last year for his entry into the Reflections contest. It is only 2 1/2 minutes long, but very powerful. I am sure you'll be impressed at how he looks at the amount of food waste coming out of one lunch period at a local elementary school!


New Town Elementary School Sponsors Waste Free Lunch Day


New Town Elementary School is in Charlotte, NC... check out what they are doing in their cafeteria:

Each day, our cafeteria produces an average of 27 large trash bags filled with largely unnecessary waste. Plastic bags, paper bags, drink bottles and containers, wrappers and packages, plastic silverware and juice boxes, unopened food and leftovers. Hundreds of individually packaged items become trash each day. Our cafeteria currently generates 4860 bags of trash each school year, that’s 5.2 bags per child every year.
This year, we decided to make a difference!

A small change to our lunch packing habits can make a big difference to the annual landfill contribution made by our school.

After a preliminary audit we were amazed to find how much food was being thrown away untouched. Kids were throwing out unopened packs of chips, cookies, yogurts, cheese, milk cartons and even silverware – items which could be either returned home for use another day or some even donated to a local shelter or food bank.

Our cafeteria currently “loses” up to 200 forks a month – nearly four lengths of a football field of silverware, each year, just thrown into the trash rather than being returned to the counter for washing. This is a perfectly preventable, $50 a month expense and an unnecessary contribution to landfill.

We set out with two goals; to reduce the amount of trash that we produce and to teach the kids how and why along the way.

Our first Waste Free Lunch day was on October 21st 2009. We advertised our date using our school website, the kid’s agendas and the ConnectEd system. We set out photos and examples of how to pack a “Waste Free Lunch” around the school. We showed the kids how to use only reusable containers for their drink, sandwiches, snacks etc, how to bring a fabric napkin and to use reusable silverware instead of disposable.

The response from our New Town families and staff was FANTASTIC ! It was very exciting to see how many children had their lunches packed entirely in reusable containers – enabling them to create no waste at all for the day.

We composted leftovers, recycled plastic, donated unused food to a local women’s shelter and showed the kids where to put their forks. Our final trash count? 10 bags. 17 less bags of trash produced than an average day and a 63% saving!

Imagine, 3,060 less bags of trash every school year. Now that really would be making a difference!

Our next Waste Free Lunch Day is November 18
Our new goal: To make every day a Waste Free Day.

Thanks to the New Town PTA ( for sharing this story with us!


November 2009 Green Team News


The Green Team has grown by leaps and bounds this year, and has been busy working on all kinds of exciting ways to make Robious Elementary a little greener! In October, our classroom recycling program got back into full swing and students have already diverted just shy of 500 pounds of waste from local landfills. They also threw away about 700 pounds of waste, for a diversion rate of approximately 40%. For comparison sake, last October the students recycled slightly over 500 pounds and tossed slightly over 1,400 pounds in the trash, for a diversion rate of about 27%. We’ll continue to monitor monthly to see if this year we can exceed the end-of-year diversion rate of 41% established last year! How can you help? Remind your children to reduce, reuse, and recycle… and send them to school with things that are reusable or recyclable, as opposed to disposable. And set a good example at home, of course!

In honor of America Recycles Day (November 15th), we’ll be launching a few other programs, too: Crayon Recycling is back! There is a “broken crayon” box near the front office. Last year, in just 2 short months, we collected about 20 pounds of broken crayons that were recycled into new fun shapes by a local girl scout troop, and donated to local doctor’s office waiting rooms. We’ll also offer a collection bin for Glue Stick Case Recycling. This box will be strategically located right near the broken crayon box in the front office area. Teachers will also keep a small box in the classroom to aggregate spent glue stick cases, to minimize the number of trips up to the front of the school. In the cafeteria, we’ll begin collecting empty Capri-Sun pouches to send for recycling through Terracycle ( So, if you send Capri Sun in your child’s lunch, be sure to tell them to be on the lookout in mid-November for a special “Capri Sun” recycle can in the lunch room. And, finally, the PTA had sufficient positive feedback about last year’s “Walking Bus” that we’ll sponsor 4 more this year. The first will be on November 13 (see sidebar). Hope to see you out walking… let’s hope for nice weather! Oh, and if you participate in the Wednesday morning Running Club, you could consider starting your own “Walking Wednesday” routine and consider it a nice lengthy warm-up! I would love to hear your feedback about your Walking Bus (or Walking Wednesday) experience – what has worked well, what obstacles have you overcome (and how?), what obstacles have you not been able to overcome, what’s the best day of the week for your family to walk, or anything else you want to share on this topic!


America Recycles Day


Sunday, November 15, is America Recycles Day and Robious Elementary School is launching several programs:
1) Friday, November 13 (postponed until November 20 due to inclement weather), will be the first of four "walking school bus" days this school year. Everyone is reminded to keep in mind that adequate adult supervision is essential, asking permission before crossing any private property is a must, and students who will walk home must have a note from a parent stating that their child is walking home (and with whom) before they can be released. Picture ID will be required at the pick-up. For other tips and stories about the walking school bus movement, go to Email pictures, success stories, or obstacles to
2) Broken crayon recycling is re-launched. Last year, we collected almost 20 pounds of broken crayons, which were given to a local girl scout troop. The scouts recycled them by melting them down and letting them cool in candy molds... and then gave them to local doctor's offices for use in their waiting rooms. This year they hope to make more and donate them to local hospitals.
3) Glue stick recycling is launching - we will be collecting empty and cleaned out glue stick casings to send in for recycling into new glue stick casings. This is the first time RES is doing this, so we'll see how it goes.
4) Drink pouch recycling is also launching in the cafeteria. The PTA has signed up with TerraCycle and for every CapriSun pouch we send in, we get $0.02. Now, we're not doing it for the money but hey, in this economy, every penny the PTA can bring in to help support the programs at our school helps!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

2008-2009 Green Team Year in Review

. Wednesday, July 1, 2009

April was definitely an exciting month for going green at Robious Elementary School. Our recycling program continues to be an amazing success: our students have diverted more than 500 pounds of classroom waste from the landfill again this month! The year to date recycling total exceeds 3,500 pounds. Remember, this is just classroom recycling. Although we’re not weighing the recycling coming out of the resource rooms, the cafeteria, or the front office, those spaces are recycling, too. According to TFC’s estimates, we’ve probably recycled closer to 7,000 pounds this year, school-wide. Earth Day was a big event at Robious Elementary this year. In fact, we celebrated it all week long, in tandem with Turn off the TV Week. Our students grew a “green commitment” tree, and brought in leaves stating what each family is doing at home to go green, participated in the “green hour” challenge, dressed in green spirit wear, participated in a “walking bus” day, and closed out the week with a fabulous potluck dinner at

Robious Landing Park. We hope your family was able to participate in some or all of these events! On April 28, I had the pleasure of speaking to the 4th graders about “green building”. Much like my experience back in February with the 3rd graders, I was absolutely amazed by their depth of knowledge and the insightfulness of their questions. Part of our discussion was about motion detectors, and how different motion s e n s i n g t e c h n o l o g i e s worked. When we started to talk about ultrasonic sensors, they shared a bit with me about how echolocation works and which animals use it to hunt and communicate. Wow! They were clearly there to get certain information, and I sure hope I lived up to their expectations. During the evening of April 28, Julia Lain (3rd grade), Austin Tuck (4th grade), Casey Perkins (assisted by Megan Gardner) and Will Hostetler (5th grade) eloquently addressed the School Board, along with students from Bettie Weaver ES and JB Watkins ES, explaining what this year’s recycling program has meant to them, to their families, and to their education. We learned that the three schools combined have kept more than 10 tons of waste out of the landfill this year. The students also took our pilot program’s recycling rates and considered how much waste would stay out of the landfill if all 58,000 CCPS students recycled in the classroom. The answer? An amazing 200 tons! The School Board’s response was very positive and we are hopeful that this is the start of something good, green, and permanent county-wide. As always, if you have any ideas about how we can continue to green Robious Elementary School, or if you want to help me out with Green Team initiatives next year, please feel free to email me directly. I would love to hear from you!

Bryna Dunn


Monday, April 6, 2009

Virgnia Trekkers Recycling Video

. Monday, April 6, 2009

Do you ever wonder what happens to all those hundreds of pounds of recycling that are separated in the classroom every week? Watch this video to find out!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

. Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Everyone goes to the grocery store. Who knew about all the things that many grocery stores do that help conserve and protect the environment? The stores do these things, not only because it helps protect the environment, it helps them save money as well. Here are some examples of things that many grocery stores do:

  1. Many grocery stores have skylights in the roof. They let in sunlight to help light the inside of the store. There are sensors that turn the lights off when the skylights provide enough light inside the store. Turning the lights off when they're not needed helps save energy.

Some grocery stores have motion detectors inside the refrigerator and freezer display cases. They turn the display case lights on when someone is walking down the aisle. The lights turn back off when no one is in the aisle. Turning the lights on only when they're needed helps save energy.

The lightbulbs in these display cases are LED bulbs. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. This type of light bulb uses much less energy than regular light bulbs, and they last a lot longer. LED bulbs give off very little heat and are cool to the touch. Because the LED bulbs give off less heat than regular light bulbs, the refrigerators and freezers don't have to work as hard to keep your favorite ice cream frozen.

The next time you go on a trip to the grocery store, see if you notice any of these things.

Pay close attention on your next trip and ask yourself the following questions:

What other ways do grocery stores help protect the environment?
What products do they sell that are better for the environment?
Why are these products better for the environment?

Then, the next time you are walking around your house or your school, ask yourself the same questions... and also ask yourself how your home or your school could become beter for the environment!

Thanks go to Woolridge Elementary School's Green Team for the information in this post!

Click on the comments link at the bottom of this post and share your answers!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Welcome to the Robious Elementary School Green Club Blog

. Saturday, March 21, 2009


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