Sustainablity Challenge Winner Annoucement

Join us Saturday, March 28th at 2pm in the Wellesley High School auditorium as we announce the winner of the Sustainability Challenge. Thank you to all the students that worked so hard and used lots of creativitysustainability challenge.



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Kermit Knows Its Easy Being Green

As seen in Bates Cafeteria!
bates cafe

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SMART Events Checklist

plastic bagWellesley Green Schools would like to ask for your help. As members of a unique partnership between the Town of Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee, Natural Resources Commission and Sustainable Wellesley we work hard every day to advocate for energy conservation, improved recycling programs, stewardship of our local green spaces, and sustainable practices in our schools.

Please help us cut down on the use of single-use plastics, which are polluting our environment, and contributing to human health problems. Plastic bags, bottles, cups utensils, and lids are admittedly a huge convenience, but pose a unique and overwhelming problem as 93% of plastics go directly to landfill and once there, they photodegrade: break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering our food chain.


Here is a SMART Event Checklist, which you can use at events big and small.

What is a SMART Event?

A SMART (Sustainable Materials and Reduce Trash)  EVENT refers to an event that is hosted in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. The goal of event greening is “to reduce the consumption of natural resources, reduce waste to a minimum, limit impacts on global climate and protect biodiversity and human health.” It requires responsible, sustainable decision making and implementation and can leave a positive legacy for the natural environment and local community. 

The gist: first reduce the amount of garbage, then reuse and recycle as much as possible. Following are some ways to do that.

1) Skip the Theme:

Themes are cute, but those specialized paper plates, streamers, banners and decorations end up in our local landfill. Similarly, those prizes the kids love also end up collecting in our streams, and rivers and polluting our environment so consider ways to downsize the plastic prizes. If you must use balloons, choose balloons made from recycled latex and avoid plastic table-coverings.

2) Use Electronic Communication:

Try to avoid printed handouts and instead use e-mail, signupgenius or other volunteer management tool and electronic invitations to manage registration, announcements and updates. If printouts are necessary, use recycled or eco-friendly paper.

3) Buy Recyclable Materials:

If possible, eliminate water bottles and other single serve containers from all school events. Re-usable water bottles are the best option, but if beverages are necessary please consider bulk water or juice and cups. Consider investing in reusable plastic cups (available at Ikea or Target), which can be washed by a volunteer or clear plastic cups labeled with a #4 which are recyclable. Finally, if no other alternatives exist, buy beverages in aluminum cans and glass bottles that can be recycled. By buying wisely, you can make a huge impact.

  • When Serving Food:  Consider renting dinnerware in certain situations or, if possible, choose food options which don’t require utensils and can be eaten by hand:

-popcorn, pretzels, pirate booty, goldfish, etc.

-whole fruit or fruit on a stick

-pizza can be served on a paper napkin

– ice cream on a cone vs. styrofoam or paper cups

If you must use disposable dishes, look for biodegradable choices such as bowls and dishes made from recycled paper or a renewable resource like bamboo. Whole Foods offers a number of options and BJs offers a line of Chinet plates which are compostable. Choose aluminum foil, wax paper and good old-fashioned paper lunch bags for food and avoid disposables like paper towels and wipes where possible.

4) Twin Garbage and Recycling Containers:

Insure that sufficient and large enough recycling bins are clearly and conveniently placed adjacent to all trash cans and provide waste monitoring assistants to ensure recycling procedures are adhered to. Put up signage clearly stating which products can and should be recycled and consider adding the waste monitoring assistant to your volunteer list. Contact the Wellesley RDF to reserve the Recyclemobile for your event and they will remove recyclable items from your event free of charge. They can be reached at 781-235-7600 x3340.

Keep in mind that while these efforts are important to human health as well as the health of our environment they also can have a significant positive financial impact for the town and our local PTOs.

In the event you are interested in learning more about the movement to reduce plastic and its toxins from our environment, the following link contains more information.


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Winter Hasn’t Stopped These Green Ambassadors @Sprague

Sprague no Idling Snowman (2)Sprague student Kurt Marten, with his 4 year old brother Hans and his mom Elaine, proudly built this snow man and created the no idling sign that now stands next to the Sprague School car line.

This gentle message — even in cold temperatures — reminds us all that idling is against the law, is bad for the environment and public health and has costs that go along with it. It also show that advocacy starts at a young age around Wellesley.

Go ahead, create one of your own in your yard, or at your school too!

For more information on idling click here.

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January is Clothing/Textile Donation Month

7gRecycleBinThe U.S. EPA estimates that textile waste occupies nearly 5% of all landfill waste and that the average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing annually!

The answer to this problem is remarkably simple. Since the mid 1940’s U.S. charities and the post-consumer textile recycling industry have repurposed and recycled billions of pounds of clothing, household textiles, shoes, and accessories. This ensures that old clothing, footwear, and textiles continue to add value to the U.S. economy and beyond. Click here for more information on textile recycling:

Consider hosting a clothing/shoes/textile collection in your schools this January and promoting the event as both a community service and earth friendly!

Newsletter blurb: New year, new resolutions! Are you cleaning out closets and clutter this January?  Please help us take textiles out of landfills by simply donating and recycling what you buy and wear when no longer useful. These efforts not only create a much-needed source of revenue for nonprofits, but also continue the sustainable practice of recycling second hand clothing.

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Green Holiday Season Tips

holiday season tipsLess is more…buy less: Instead of buying unneeded gifts consider giving the money to a worthy charity or sponsor a family in need. Or limit gift giving to one gift each or pick names from a hat and buy one gift for one person.

Buy/give greener: Buy gifts made from recycled materials, that are locally made or don’t require batteries. Re-gift something new that you don’t need and someone else might want. And choose a live tree, not an artificial one made from petroleum-based products.

Reduce energy use: Put heat on timers and keep it lower during the hours that no one is home and/or you are sleeping. Use motion sensor lights where possible which turn off when no one is in a room or outdoor area. Switch to LED lights.

Economize on wrapping: Enormous amounts wrapping paper and ribbon are used every year at the holidays. In fact, 38,000 miles of ribbon alone are thrown out each year…enough to tie a bow around the earth! Use less wrapping paper (a huge source of paper waste and not recyclable) by just tying a bow around a box or using reusable holiday bags & boxes.

The bottom line…small changes you make during the holidays like using less wrapping paper and energy can make a big difference in helping the environment and saving money!

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Sprague Celebrates America Recycles Day with Jack Golden Presentation

dr tThanks to WHS reporters, Matthew Hornung and Olivia Gieger

The entire student population of Sprague Elementary School crowded into their gymnasium last Friday to hear professional entertainer Jack Golden of Greenfield make his case about environmentalism.  But Golden’s presentation wasn’t just a simple speech or PowerPoint slideshow.  The gym echoed with laughter as Golden played a comedic role as “Dr. T., the wizard of waste, a trashologist that loves to talk trash.”

The performance was coordinated in cooperation between the Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF) and Sprague Elementary School in honor of America Recycles Day, generating awareness about issues surrounding trash disposal and the waste cycle in elementary school students.  In addition to hearing from Golden, students took part in the event by giving short speeches about ways to be more sustainable as part of the introduction to the assembly.

The show’s main feature was Garbage is My Bag, a comedic performance about solid waste. Golden focused his presentation on information surrounding the solid waste disposal process and alternative forms of waste disposal like recycling.  He emphasized how “garbage in trash doesn’t go away, it just goes somewhere else,” pointing out that “recycling starts and ends with us.” Golden encouraged students to reduce trash through composting, sorting recycling, and reusing items.  He also emphasized the importance of students reminding their own parents to recycle and simply reducing the amount of trash they produce on a regular basis.

Golden began his career as a comedian in the circus for six years, but according to him, as he began to learn more about recycling, he sought to give his show more meaning.  He began creating shows that he calls “seriously funny” with a combination of humor and serious topics. Among other recognitions, Golden has received the Environmental Protection Agency’s Administrators’ Award for Solid Waste Education for his education skits. He now travels the country presenting his sustainably-inspired show to schools, conferences, theaters, and anyone else who will listen.  In addition to teaching theater classes at Boston University and the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Golden is active in sustainability organizations like the National Recycling Congress and MassRecycle.

Golden hopes that by adding a comedic twist on serious issues, “kids will start to associate recycling words with having a good time.  It’s an attitude thing, and we want kids to see recycling as fun and not a chore.”


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Re-Using Continues at Bates Pumpkin Fair

L. Foley Oct 18 2014 (7)Kudos to continued efforts to re-use products.

Bates School’s recent Pumpkin Fair has a booth, year in and year out, for gently used items.

Selling gently used books, costumes and CDs or games is a great fundraising idea and an excellent way to ReUse items.

Consider it for your school or community organization.




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Stop Litter and Landfill Overfill                     

Vote YES on Question 2

stop litterA YES vote on Question 2 on November 4th will finally update a successful 32-year-old law, the 1982 Bottle Bill, to include five cent deposits on water bottles and sports drinks. Question 2 is our answer to a critical problem: instead of being recycled millions of these bottles are ending up in our town fields, parks, beaches, streams, oceans and landfills where the plastic they are made of never breaks down. Voting YES on Question 2 to update the Bottle Bill will begin solving the problem of harmful plastics in our environment and will:

  • Increase recycling rates

The facts tell the story: more than 80% of bottles with deposits are redeemed, compared to less than 23% of bottles without deposits. The rest of those containers, which are mostly water and sports drink bottles, become litter or end up as trash in landfills.

According to the Container Recycling Institute, people in the US buy about 34.6 billion plastic water bottles per year, and 8 out of 10 of those bottles go un-recycled and directly into landfills. As a result, landfills have become so full that water bottles and other plastic materials end up landfilled, downcycled, incinerated or exported to other countries.

  • Save money and resources

Cleaning up these bottles is expensive– by redeeming and/or recycling water & sports drink containers would save our cities and towns about $6.7 million a year or an average of $1 per person living in MA in litter pick up and trash disposal costs.

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Wellesley Green Schools’ No Idling Campaign Receives State Award

wgs State House Award 2014By Matthew Hornung ’16 and Olivia Gieger ’17 
Posted May. 7, 2014 Wellesley Townsman 

On Tuesday, a contingent from Wellesley Green Schools traveled to the Massachusetts State House to receive an Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Award. The contingent included students on the Wellesley High School Green Team along with Wellesley Green Schools’ parent volunteers.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) annually collaborates with the Secretary’s Advisory Group on Energy and Environmental Education (SAGEE) and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) to award school groups throughout the Commonwealth for their proactivity in environmental affairs. The awards were first created in 1994 and are awarded to organizations that “voluntarily incorporate environmental education into public or private school curricula,” according to the EEA. The awards are intended to increase or encourage continued environmental education in schools across the state.

Idling_postcard_FINAL copy

This year Wellesley Green Schools was nominated for an Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education Award by Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham and Officer Evan Rosenberg for the no-idling campaign that they pushed throughout the winter and early spring. The initiative was designed to encourage drivers to turn off their engine while waiting in carlines and parking lots by rewarding those that already did so before the initiative, leading them to set an example for others.

The WHS Green Team also played a big role in the execution of the campaign. Every Friday, students stood outside the high school’s main entrance and asked drivers to turn their cars’ engines off or handed out informational cards on the effects of idling to parents already making the right choice.

“Wellesley Green Schools is honored to have received this designation and award from EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan, but is more enthusiastic that so many organizations both governmental and non-governmental supported this important initiative in Wellesley,” said Phyllis Theermann, Co-Chair of Wellesley Green Schools. “The result is that individuals around town are slowly changing their habits to turn their cars off when they are not driving. They simply needed a reminder about the effects it has on their communities’ health, environment as well as wallets. See the details at,” Theermann said.


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