GGI Newsletter: August 2016

This month:

  1. Schools and Cooling
  2. Excellent Article on Banning Single Use Recycling Bags - Well thought Out
  3. Back to School:  Do your School Supplies have Phthalates in them?
  4. Trees and Carbon banking India and Cumberland County
  5. Play and Playgrounds 
 'News You can Use'
  • Start Recycling Right; right off the bat.
  • Re/Certification GO GREEN or lose out with the annual incentive bonuses!
  • NASA's Climate Kids 
  • NC Livestock Operations: Getting down and dirty
  • Ten Interesting Facts about Energy; you probably didn't know. 
  • Food and our Health


This Month's Video: Sir David Attenborough Narrates Adele's 'Hello' and 'Its a Wonderful World'

Atmospheric CO2 level: Target 360 ppm
June 2016:  407.37 ppm (from:
June 2015:  
402.88 ppm
July 19, 2016:  403.18 ppm

March Temperatures
Warmest April since 1880:  2016   (from:
Coldest April since 1880:  1909

Sea Level rise: 3.24 mm/annum (National Geographic)

Cooling Systems: A Mid-Summer Checkup

Facility Managers:  

  • Continuous maintenance is necessary to keep cooling systems operating efficiently all summer long.
  • Adjust temperature control settings to match changing needs and occupancy schedules.
  • Make sure filters are changed regularly and inspect the cooling system for leaks.  Read More.

Are plastic-bag bans good for the climate?

By  on Jun 2, 2016

Well thought out article discussing all aspects of the Single Bag issue.
Though not 'recyclable'; in Fayetteville these bags are send back to manufacturers for recycling to the tune of 2 pallets/week.
The adverse impacts of plastic bags are undeniable: When they’re not piling up in landfills, they’re blocking storm drains, littering streets, getting stuck in trees, and contaminating oceans, where fish, seabirds, and other marine animals eat them or get tangled up in them. As longtime plastic bag adversary Ian Frazier recently reported in The New Yorker, “In 2014, plastic grocery bags were the seventh most common item collected during the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, behind smaller debris such as cigarette butts, plastic straws, and bottle caps.” The New York City Sanitation Department collects more than 1,700 tons of single-use carry-out bags every week, and has to spend $12.5 million a year to dispose of them.  Read more...

Context - Phthalates are additives that are widely used in plastics to make them soft and flexible.

To protect children from potential health effects, certain phthalates are no longer used in toys and childcare articles. However, some school supplies – such as erasers, bags or pencil cases – were found to contain these phthalates.

Can regularly chewing on such articles cause harmful health effects?  Read the article.

An assessment by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER)
The answers to these questions are a faithful summary of the scientific opinion produced in 2008 by the Scientific
Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER): " Opinion on phthalates in school supplies" Learn more...

GreenFacts was contracted to prepare this summary by the DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission, which authorised its publication. See this publication on
Text copyright© DG Health and Consumers of the European Commission.

  • Source document:SCHER (2008)
  • Summary & Details: GreenFacts


India set a record by planting 50 million trees in one day

By  on Jul 20, 2016

This article is apropos as Cumberland County is investing in carbon banking trees on 3 of our school properties.  Sustainable Sandhills has pledged to plant 10k trees in the coming years.  Nice to know we are right up there with fellow world tree bankers!

Trees are a valuable tool in the fight against climate change. It’s the ultimate in carbon-capture technology — but all natural, and without the licensing fees.
On July 11th, volunteers in India took this old-school climate-fighting tool to a whole new level by planting a record number of trees in a single day, beating Pakistan’s previous record of planting 847,275 trees in 2013.  Read More...


Obama tries to revive a grassroots solar program

By  on Jul 19, 2016
Another article in line with what is going on in our school system.  In partnership with Sustainable Sandhills we are looking at installing solar panels on several schools.  These arrays will sell energy back to the utility which is Duke Progress.  Thereby saving money and using alternative technologies in our schools!.  We will report progress as we move along in this project.

Playgrounds and the Importance of Play

Iowa Public Radio - July 14, 2016 |
By Emily Woodbury & Charity Nebbe | 
As outdoor playtime has dwindled for many kids in the United States our understanding of the importance of that time has grown.

"Kids are 71 percent less involved in outdoor activities now than they were ten years ago," says Dr. Stuart Brown, founding director of the National Institute for Play. "To me it's a public health issue. The benefits of play need to be understood both for personal health, brain development, and social competency. We don't somehow see play as being connected to that and yet it is."  More...

Start off the Year Doing it Right!

Soft plastics are trash.  Cardboard is recyclable.  PLEASE Separate it. No matter whether you are 3 stream or commingled(see to the right who is commingled or 3 stream).

When teachers send students to recycle unsupervised the bins become contaminated with trash and recycling.  This will not be picked up.

Recycling in the trash dumpster OH NO!  This should only be restroom and cafeteria debris in this dumpster.  All that recycling will be put into the landfill. Not good.  The ratio of bags of cafeteria to restroom refuse should be 3:1. So if there are 3 bags from the cafeteria there should be 1 bag from classrooms total per day.

  • This is not a one person job or a job for someone who has outside academic/athletic responsibilities.  
  • Enlist help from your Facility Manager/Principal and other teachers.  Some schools are putting the Go Green Initiative on their SIT teams as part of their correlates.
  • Be inclusive for all areas of the school, PTO/PTA, athletics, cultural arts etc. the more heads together the more ideas generated and successes for your program.
  • Call the Go Green Initiative office for HELP
  • ALL schools must have a green team and a student green team to make this program work.
  • ALL classrooms by now must have recycle bins for paper and plastic. Bucket, buckets buckets...
  • No students should be sent to the dumpsters.  Only teachers and green team collects and takes materials to the blue bins or dumpsters(if commingled)
  • No blue bins in the halls - contamination will occur.  If fact only bring them in on days recycling will be collected from each room.
  • Custodians are a major help in organizing.  They are the go to folks who know what works!
  • All HS Students need community service hours.  Find out who never gets all they need, this is the group you want for community service, serving on the Green Team. 
  • Limit fridges,and other personal appliances that produce heat in the classroom.  Fridges are usually hidden, covered or blocked leading to excessive power usage.  Fridges depend on outside evaporative processes to keep the inside contents cool.
GO GREEN INITIATIVE folks have been out and about taking pictures, talking to custodians and sending reports to schools on their recycling.  This is the end of our 5th year recycling.  The changes seen are mostly positive; we are recycling more and it doesn't stop, it is year round.  We are recycling correctly for the most part.  It is very important as we begin this new year that we make sure to continue recycling correctly.  

The Majority of Cumberland County Schools do not recycle like the City of Fayetteville.  Cumberland County Schools recycles 3 stream: paper, plastics and metal. All items are separated; mixed paper from the plastics and plastics from metal.  Books can be recycled in boxes beside the blue bins.and electronics can be recycled in boxes beside the blue bins. Helium tanks that are empty can be recycled beside the blue bins.

If you are at Cape Fear HS and Mac Williams Middle;  Douglas Byrd HS and Douglas Byrd Middle; Southview HS and Southview Middle; and Gray's Creek HS and Gray's Creek Middle, you recycle like the City of Fayetteville: commingled.  What we know though at the commingled schools is that they should be separating paper, plastics and metals in each class.  WHY?  because when students and teachers see mixed recycling they think TRASH.  To prevent this, separate out, in the class each type of recyclable and the green team when they pick up can commingle all recyclables.  

PLEASE DO  NOT SEND STUDENTS TO RECYCLE UNLESS THEY HAVE BEEN TRAINED AS PART OF THE SCHOOL'S GREEN TEAM.  This is where we see the most contamination of trash with recycling.  Mixed recycling can be fixed (cans, plastics, and paper together).  Contaminated recycling will not be picked up (soft plastics, shrink wrap, Styrofoam, and food contaminated materials).  It is a headache for those of us who oversee, collect and make sure recycling is not contaminated with trash.

What we see when we go into a dumpster   Seeing classroom materials in the dumpster indicates the recycling program is a couple of years behind: not good.  The trash dumpster should only have restroom trash and Child Nutrition materials in it.  99% plus of classroom materials ARE RECYCLABLE.  The cardboard dumpster should have .... yep cardboard.    Shrink wrap and soft plastic wraps and laminated paper are not recyclable but we continue to see them in recycling bins and cardboard dumpsters.  Please take the time to separate them and trash the soft plastics, recycle the cardboard. Speaking of cardboard it goes into the cardboard dumpster, not in the recycle bins.  It should be separate.

Remember there are no dumb questions. Don't know where to get started if you are new? Do you need help?  Do you need ideas?  Call me.

Ten Interesting Things about Energy

June 17, 2016
Always turn off lights when you leave the room, unless you have CFLs.  Read more...

An excellent website for students to explore all facets of the climate change.  Very colorful, bright and definitely interactive. Even I found it informative and learned some interesting facts.  Did you know that 6.3 pounds (about 1 gallon) of gasoline contributes 20 pounds of CO2?  That is not only amazing but scary in terms of our climate!  Visit and learn more.

Map project shows expansion of NC livestock operations

By Tyler Dukes

RALEIGH, N.C. — Environmental groups this week released a series of interactive maps displaying the locations and waste output of thousands of hog, poultry and cattle operations across the state.

The project's creators, the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Environmental Working Group, say the maps extensively document for the first time the high concentrations of confined animal feeding operations in certain parts of the state, which can contribute to nutrient pollution in sensitive waterways. But agriculture lobbyists say the project reveals nothing new about livestock farmers, who environmental officials say must follow strict guidelines in one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state.  Read more  

Many Foods Subsidized By the Government Are Unhealthy

*Carolina Farm Stewardship Association


Mandy Oaklander @mandyoaklander  
July 5, 2016
Updated: July 6, 2016 8:08 AM ET
Danny Kim for TIME

Americans are fat and sick

If you want to eat healthy in America, don’t expect government subsidies to help. The most federally subsidized foods are heavily processed, and diets rich in them may be having profound negative effects on health, suggests a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.   Read More
Read Later
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