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: http://www.weardonaterecycle.org.

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 WellesleyGreenSchools.com,” Theermann said.


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Idling_infographic_FINALIdling_postcard_FINAL copy

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Turn the Key, Be Idle Free!


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P2C_Logo_2014 web use


It is part of the Town’s MORE POWER TO CHOOSE Campaign that includes other opportunities to improve your home efficiency & “Make Wellesley Even Better”

Wellesley is offering homeowners a FREE thermal image report that displays an exterior heat loss image of your home and an analysis of what the image implies. The image is ONLY viewable by the homeowner. This is part of the Town’s MORE POWER TO CHOOSE campaign that includes other opportunities to improve your home efficiency and “Make Wellesley Even Better.”

P2C_Magnet_2014_200pxThis campaign is working to “Make Wellesley even better” by offering any or all of the following:

  • FREE home thermal image report
  • No-Cost home energy assessment
  • Advice on how to accomplish one’s list of efficiency


  • FREE preliminary analysis of a home’s suitability for a solar installation
  • Discounted price for solar panel installation through a group purchase program
  • The chance to sign up or increase the amount of clean, local renewable energy purchased through Wellesley’s Municipal Light Plant

    Power to Choose 2014 IconsA thermal image report informs homeowners through a visual demonstration of exactly where their homes are losing energy. Sagewell, Inc. is Wellesley’s partner for this aspect of the campaign. The Cambridge- based firm drove through Wellesley on a very cold night last winter in a vehicle equipped with heat loss sensors to get the images.

    “Seeing the energy leaking from the house is a vital first step, and an in- home energy assessment then allows homeowners to fully realize how they can achieve energy savings in their home,” said Tim D’Souza, of Sagewell, Inc. The EPA estimates that insulation and air sealing typically save 20% of heating and cooling costs.

    “During an energy assessment, experts conduct a thorough evaluation of your home from attic to basement,” said Peter Holland, Wellesley resident, licensed Massachusetts’s LEED-accredited professional and Managing Partner of Riverstone Custom Partners. “In addition to some immediate energy efficiency measures, they leave estimates or recommendations of deeper measures you can take to reduce your energy use. Homeowners who heat with gas will be advised about rebates and incentives. Homeowners who heat with oil will be advised about the most appropriate and cost effective measures they can take. Everyone will see energy savings from the thermal image report, energy assessment, and by following up on the recommendations,” Holland said enthusiastically.

    More than 400 Wellesley residents had assessments during the Town’s 2013 Power to Save campaign but some still need assistance to get started on the recommended improvements that will make their homes comfortable, healthy and high performing. Assistance is available through this year’s MORE POWER TO CHOOSE program. Wellesley residents can save $1,000 a year or more on energy costs by making these improvements.

 Another exciting part of the MORE POWER TO CHOOSE program is that Wellesley homeowners interested in solar can get a free preliminary solar suitability analysis. “Later in the spring, through a Wellesley group purchase, Wellesley’s solar partner Astrum will provide residents very competitive pricing for solar installations” said Ellen Korpi, Chair of the Town of Wellesley Sustainable Energy Committee. “This is possible because the vendor passes on the cost savings from the benefits of economies of scale and the avoidance of marketing costs,” Korpi said.

More than 30 communities in Massachusetts have already participated in similar programs and Wellesley is one of 16 more – including Needham and Lexington – that are rolling them out in 2014.

As many Wellesley residents know, the 2012 Power to Choose renewable energy campaign enabled Wellesley to have the 3rd highest participation rate for voluntary renewable energy in the country behind Palo Alto, CA and Portland, OR. Wellesley is also the only EPA-designated Green Power Community in Massachusetts. This means that more than 11% of Wellesley customers voluntarily pay a 4 cent per kilowatt hour premium to purchase 10%, 25%, 50% or 100% of their power from renewable sources. For the median household at the 10% level, this costs less than a gallon of gas per month.

Jack Stewart, Chair of the Wellesley Municipal Light Board said, “MORE POWER TO CHOOSE allows residents another chance to sign up for this program or to increase their participation. This gives the Town of Wellesley the opportunity to move our participation rate ahead of Portland, OR to second in the country,” Stewart said. Go to WellesleyPowerToChoose.com or call Wellesley’s Municipal Light Plant at 781 235-7600 X3366 to sign up or get more information.

“We have much to celebrate in Wellesley and more to do when it comes to making our community even more energy efficient and sustainable,” said Ellen Korpi. “We have exceeded our carbon footprint reduction goal of 10% between 2007 and 2013 and now we have the opportunity to set a new reduction goal for 2020 and to continue our successful progress. As many members of our community take these modest steps, it adds together to achieve a material difference,” Korpi said proudly.

Example of a thermal image.

 Half insulated home - annotated (1)

This thermal image example shows leaks and importance of insulation.

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Wellesley. Making the Switch

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