Archive for the ‘Reducing’ category

Green Cup Challenge

March 17, 2012

Look our for new recycling and waste information in April!


Both Sides Now….

December 7, 2011

Mr. Reilly’s class is a triple-threat – using both sides of their papers AND recycling!

Snack Attack – Green Cup Challenge

January 30, 2011

Teachers  and students all over GCS are turning out the lights during the Green Cup Challenge.  GCS already makes use of wind power options from ConEd and participates in Energy Curtailment Service’s Power Down events.

“First, there is the power of the Wind, constantly exerted over the globe…. Here is an almost incalculable power at our disposal, yet how trifling the use we make of it! It only serves to turn a few mills, blow a few vessels across the ocean, and a few trivial ends besides. What a poor compliment do we pay to our indefatigable and energetic servant!” –  Henry David Thoreau

You can see how our progress compares to other schools here: ( this month.  We are focusing on the ways we can save energy while we eat. Hosted by the Green Schools Alliance, we are encouraging all classrooms to consider saving energy in the following ways;

  • Turn out the lights during snack and story time
  • Don’t leave chargers plugged in when they are not in use
  • Turn off printers, monitors, and SmartBoards when not in use
  • Turn off unneeded hallway lights
  • Turn of the main bank of lights at lunch on a sunny day.
  • Walk instead of taking the elevator
  • Enjoy one of Chef Sheehan’s Green Lunches!

You can look at our Top Ten Green Tips (in the sidebar on the right) if you would like to find out even more ways to keep energy savings up and reduce our Carbon Footprint!

Treecycle Mulchfest 2011

December 26, 2010

You may be eyeing your tree and starting to think about how much longer it will last this year.  Maybe you’ve fallen in love with it, and wish it could last a little longer.  Don’t despair! There are many ways to extend the life of your tree for months to come.  A great article in the NY Times shared ways to make tea and Spruce Butter.  When you’ve used your tree as much as you can, don’t forget to take it to Mulchfest 2011, held all around the city on Jan.8.

Do you have other items that need to be recycled after an exciting holiday? There is an extremely useful program available via the Treehugger Mobile App.  If you have a GPS-able smartphone, add the free Treehugger app.  You’ll see a symbol for recycling.  Once you choose the items you want to recycle (including many things not recyclable by the city) you’ll see the closest location to take your items.  For example, if you have #6 plastics (polystyrene) that tend to pile up over the holidays, you can take them to some participating Mailboxes, Etc.!

“Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.” – Mark Twain

November 30, 2010

From one Mark to another!  Our history teacher, Mr. Weinsier, has a green habit that many teachers share – using a re-usable mug for hot drinks.  This holiday season, carry your cocoa in a re-usable mug.  “A report conducted jointly by the Alliance for Environmental Innovation and Starbucks found that 1.9 billion cups were used by Starbucks in 2000.[5]  In 2006, Starbucks reported that this figure had grown to 2.3 billion cups for use at their stores.” Typically, the paper used for coffee cups is made of new trees, not recycled paper.  Manufacturing these cups takes a lot of water, and energy.  Crazy, considering that they are usually used once. (source 1 & source 2 with more facts about coffee cup use)

Mark shares his mug story;  “I use my favorite reusable mug — a gift from friends at our partner school in New Delhi, India — whenever I go to the faculty room for my favorite Earl Grey tea.  Two years ago, I used to take a new cup every time I drank tea — and that wasted a lot of cups.  One day I decided I was going to bring in a mug from home, so I brought in the one from Vasant Valley.  (Sometimes I even add a little of a spice called cardamom to remind me of India!)  Now I try to challenge myself to never have tea here at school unless my mug is with me!”

Second Grade Goes Bananas!

November 22, 2010

Our classroom compost has been coming along very nicely.  Below, you can see a photo of the compost thus far – already looking earthy and smelling like fresh dirt in less than a month!  The second graders collected their banana peels from this week’s snack.  With about 1.8 kg of peels, we will be testing the limits of our little worms over the holiday break.  While just a small amount of food waste, it will never the less avoid the landfill, and lead to a great salad in the spring.

So far, our worms have not been able to make a dent in the “compostable” dinner fork we used at our Earth Dinner on November 4th.  We hope to see it begin to decompose this year.

Second graders have been learning about how much food Americans typically waste and throw into landfill.  A very informative article about the topic was shared during our Green Team meeting with upper school students this week. To find out more, see the NYTimes link here.

NYC recycles clothing and materials – from Earth 911

July 9, 2010

Earth 911 maintains a comprehensive list of recycling centers, as well as instructions about how to make your home, office, and school a greener place.  A recent article on the site highlights NYC’s new clothing recycling program.

“If you had to identify a city in the U.S. that has its finger on the pulse of what’s fashionable, New York City wouldn’t be a bad choice.

Be it the city’s semi-annual Fashion Week or the numerous fashion publications based there, New Yorkers are very much up on what’s hip when it comes to clothing.

But this then begs the question – what should the city’s denizens do when their duds are so last year? Well, if the city’s government has anything to say about it, people will be recycling those old clothes.

As AP reported (via Yahoo), the city will launch a program in September that will place 50 collection bins across the city in areas with a lot of foot traffic, to entice people to recycle their clothing instead of tossing them.

As the article notes, Americans chuck nearly 10 pounds of “socks, jeans, shirts and sheets per year, per person,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, per a survey of 600 adults byGoodwill Industries, “more than half of the people who donate clothing say they wouldn’t go more than 10 minutes out of their way to make a donation,” so clearly convenience is important.

It’s uncertain as of now who’ll be responsible for the bins, with the city taking bids from nonprofit companies interested in taking on a 10- to 15-year contract, and Goodwill Industries is one such nonprofit.

As Goodwill spokesman Alfred Vanderbilt noted, “There has not been another program like this that we know of. We think they are being very creative and we hope this sets a new standard.” Don’t be surprised if that’s the case and you see more clothing collection bins popping up in other cities in the next few years.

Story by Marc Hertz, originally published July 6, 2010 on Tonic