Finding products that are safer for you, your employees, your family, and the environment should be easy. That’s why EPA developed the new Safer Choice label. Products with the Safer Choice label help consumers and commercial buyers identify products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance.
Participation in the Safer Choice program is voluntary. Companies that make products carrying the Safer Choice label have invested heavily in research and reformulation to ensure that their products meet the Safer Choice Standard. These companies are leaders in safer products and sustainability.
Products have to meet stringent criteria in order to earn the Safer Choice label. In addition to product ingredients, the program also considers product performance, pH, packaging and more to ensure that products with the label are safer for you and your family. Once a product meets the Safer Choice Standard, EPA conducts annual audits to ensure that they continue to do so.
You can search for products that meet the Safer Choice Standard here. If you’re a manufacturer who wants learn more about qualifying for the program and applying for certification, EPA has more information here.
School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education (SCARCE), is an environmental education and assistance organization based in DuPage County, IL. Kay McKeen, SCARCE Founder and Executive Director, and Erin Kennedy, Environmental Educator and LEED GA, will discuss resources and guidance available from SCARCE to help your school or district achieve food waste reduction and diversion goals.
Coordinated by ISTC with funding from US EPA Region 5, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary pledge program for schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations. By registering, participants are accepting the challenge to reduce and prevent food waste in their facilities. The Challenge involves suggested activities that range in complexity and commitment, to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget and available community resources. Participants are not required to complete activities, but with each activity that is completed successfully, they earn points and can be recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment. Learn more, and register your school or district, at www.greenlunchroom.org.
Join us on Friday, September 30, 2016 for a Green Lunchroom Challenge Webinar, “School Gardening and Composting at Salem High School (MA).” The webinar will be broadcast from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM Central, and will be recorded and posted to the Challenge web site for later viewing. Register online at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2878734024751555843.
Learn about innovative on-site gardening and composting efforts at Salem High School (Salem, MA). These projects not only provide fresh produce for school meals, but also engaging experiential learning opportunities for students. Our presenters will be Graeme Marcoux, Salem High School science teacher, and Deborah Jeffers, Food Services Director. This school not only has traditional garden plots, but also grows produce in a modified, climate controlled shipping container from Freight Farms. This atypical approach to on-site gardening allows the school to generate more fresh produce than they would with their traditional plots alone, and can allow growing during any season. This CBS Boston feature on the school’s efforts provides more information, and may help you formulate questions you’d like to ask during the webinar: http://boston.cbslocal.com/video/category/news-general/3411386-eye-on-education-students-grow-fresh-healthy-food-for-cafeteria/#.V1cjQm52EV9.wordpress.
Coordinated by the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) with funding from US EPA Region 5, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary pledge program for schools to improve the sustainability of their food service operations. By registering, participants are accepting the challenge to reduce and prevent food waste in their facilities. The Challenge involves suggested activities that range in complexity and commitment, to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget and available community resources. Participants are not required to complete activities, but with each activity that is completed successfully, they earn points and can be recognized as having achieved different levels of accomplishment. Learn more, and register your school or district, at www.greenlunchroom.org.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, food production represents 10 percent of the total US energy budget, uses 50 percent of US land, and accounts for 80 percent of the freshwater we consume–yet, 40 percent of food in the US goes uneaten. And in 2013, 49.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 33.3 million adults and 15.8 million children. Food waste is clearly both a tremendous problem and opportunity for improving the sustainability of our society. Reducing food waste in schools not only helps to ensure those precious expended resources are providing nutrition as intended, but also provides the opportunity to set important examples of conservation and systems thinking among our impressionable youth, which will hopefully stay with them as they become our next generation of leaders.
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC) is therefore pleased to announce an exciting new project that addresses this important societal and environmental challenge. In order to identify sources of food waste in K-12 schools and facilitate its prevention and reduction, ISTC, in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), UI Extension, and Beyond Green Partners, Inc., is launching the Green Lunchroom Challenge this fall. Funded by US EPA Region 5, the program is open for participation from K-12 schools throughout the state. Marketing of the program will however, be targeted toward underserved regions of southern Illinois, including Pulaski, Alexander, Marion, White, and Fayette counties. According to data from the ISBE, over 70 percent of K-12 students in those counties are eligible for assistance through the National School Lunch Program. By preventing and reducing food waste in these areas particularly, and throughout the state, it is hoped the Challenge will not only achieve environmental benefits, but also stretch federal and state assistance and resources through increased efficiency.
Similar to the successful Illinois Green Office Challenge, the Green Lunchroom Challenge is a voluntary, “friendly competition,” in which participating schools will choose among a variety of suggested activities to improve the sustainability of their food service. These activities will range in complexity and commitment to allow participants to best suit their situation, budget, and available community resources. Examples might include, but not be limited to, composting of food scraps, use of creative entree names and careful relative placement of food choices to reduce waste of fruit and vegetables, donation of unused food to local food banks or shelters, etc. In addition to operationally related activities, schools may also choose to integrate food waste prevention and reduction into curricula, helping students learn about food security and hunger, composting, the circular economy, and stewardship. Resources and guidance will be available on the project web site and from ISTC technical assistance staff for each recommended activity, and participants will earn points for every activity they complete. Relative progress will be displayed on an online leaderboard. On Earth Day 2016, the participating public K-12 school with the most points will be declared the winner for the year and will receive public recognition and a prize (to be determined) to foster continuous improvement.
A kickoff workshop will be held in September 2015 (date and location to be announced) to introduce the Challenge; identify (in part through feedback from school and district representatives in attendance) key sources of food waste in schools, as well as barriers to its prevention; to raise awareness among potential participants of existing relevant toolkits and programs; and to provide comprehensive training on analysis and modification of menus, food procurement and inventory, lunchroom procedures, etc. Note that a school does not need to participate in the workshop to participate in the Challenge, and schools may register throughout the Challenge period (Sept. 1, 2015- April 1, 2016). While the competition is only open to K-12 schools in Illinois, ISTC hopes that other states and organizations beyond schools will be able to use resources developed for the Challenge to guide food waste reduction and prevention in their operations and regions.
Interested parties may contact Joy Scrogum with questions or to request addition to the mailing list for more information on the workshop and activities as it becomes available. The project web site will be available soon, and potential participants will be able to sign up to receive further information there as well. (The URL for the program web site will be posted in the comments of this post as soon as it is live.)
This post was originally published on the ISTC Blog, July 7, 2015.
Every year, schools and universities across the nation participate in Earth Day activities. Many of the ‘Big Ten’ universities have extended Earth Day into a week-long series of events to create sustainable awareness across the student population.
Indiana University is hosting a week full of events and activities to involve students in the Earth Week Celebration. The Environmental Management and Sustainable Development Association (EMSDA) has planned an event each day, including presentations about sustainability and renewable energy, a documentary viewing about sustainable agriculture, and a bike ride to a farm to learn about local organic farming practices, while promoting green transportation as well! To learn more about how Indiana University promotes Earth Week, please visit http://www.indiana.edu/~iuemsda/earthweek.php .
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
One of the main events hosted by Michigan State University for Earth Week is the Greening the Supply Chain Conference 2014, which took place on Monday, April 21, 2014 at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center. In addition to the conference, the annual Tri-County Environmental Leadership Awards will take place on Wednesday, April 23 to honor the sustainability leaders from Eaton, Clinton and Ingham counties. The University has also hosted a Spring Bike Sale to promote sustainable transportation and has several Community Reuse Days planned to encourage the community to reduce, reuse and recycle. A full list of events can be found here.
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
To celebrate this planet that we all share, Ohio State hosted many events in the past week leading up to Earth Day. The celebration has been a huge success, with the popular Green Lunch Series events and the Sustainability Summit. Whether it was the Community Recycled Art Project, the Environmental Film Screening, or the many seminars about recycling and sustainability, there was something for every member of the Ohio State community to become involved in to celebrate Earth Week. More information and a full list of events can be found here.
UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
In efforts to accommodate all students’ busy schedules, the University of Iowa celebrates Earth Day with an entire month of sustainability and environmental activities, with events almost every day throughout the month of April. Although the month is coming to an end, Earth Month has been a great success, and there are even more excellent events to come! For a full list of upcoming events or to submit your own event, visit the University of Iowa sustainability page and check back often for updates!
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is currently celebrating Earth Week this week to promote awareness for the sustainable living and environmental appreciation. With a variety of events and activities, the students of the University, as well as the members of the surrounding community, are given a plethora of opportunities to become a part of Earth Week. From a Clothing Swap held at the University YMCA to the Sustainability Symposium held by the Institute for Sustainability, Energy & Environment, there is something for everyone to attend! More information and a full list of events can be found at the sustainability website.
As part of its continuing partnership with the Sustainable Electronics Initiative, GLRPPR will be co-hosting a series of webinars focused on sustainable electronics research and issues in Fall 2012. Look for more information on the presenters here in the GLRPPR Blog in late August, and check the GLRPPR Calendar for the webinars, as scheduling is confirmed.
It’s a cliche, but things sure have changed since when I was in school. As I mentioned previously, my daughter recently started kindergarten. In addition to recess, which one would expect, she actually has physical education (P.E.) every third day (alternated with music and art classes). I’m pleased she’s being kept active, but surprised to be thinking about gym class quite so soon. In the midst of watching her explore the brave new word of P.E., I received an e-mail inquiry regarding the Greening Schools web site. This was a joint project of the Illinois EPA and GLRPPR’s parent organization, the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center (ISTC, formerly WMRC), which is unfortunately no longer funded (please e-mail me any ideas regarding funding sources to maintain and expand this site). The inquirer was interested in greener lesson plans geared toward P.E. I’ve seen resources related to greening athletic facilities, but the idea of actually greening the P.E. curriculum was an interesting twist to me, so I decided to share some of the resources I provided in response here. In this post I’ll discuss both resources for more sustainable P.E. facilities as well as curricula. Continue reading “Greening Gym Class”
My daughter started kindergarten last week and next week my son is off to preschool for the first time. We’ll all look back on these days fondly sometime in the future, but for now, I’m having some typical Mommy back-to-school blues. In the interest of combating those blues, I decided to focus on some greens–specifically in the form of green tips related to schools and students. In this post I’ll discuss how to reduce waste associated with school lunches; look for more discussions on green ideas and examples for K-12 and beyond in the days to come.
Celebrate Earth Day with a CyberExhibit (originally curated in 2000 on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day) by the University of Buffalo Libraries, which commemorates the anniversary of Earth Day.
It includes: a brief history of Earth Day, a listing of selected international, national, state, local, and campus Internet resources, and other materials. A special feature on education is added for the 40th Anniversary with expanded resources for kids, and teachers/educators in formal K-12 and non-formal (nature centers, museums, parks, camps, zoos, etc.) settings.