Green School News

Green School News


University School is committed to the advancement of natural resource conservation and environmental stewardship in both our school and global communities.


It's Earth Month at ETSU !   A complete list of events and event details are available at


Department of Sustainability:




ETSU Green News Website:


University School,

The Second Graders would like to challenge the faculty, staff and students at University School to compost your cafeteria scraps.  We have 4 outdoor composting bins on our playground.  We encourage you to responsibly recycle your compostable cafeteria scraps. Link to a short composting video


A summary of what you can and cannot compost:


You can compost:


       Bananas and Banana Peels

       Other Fruits

       Vegetable Peels and Scraps

       Bread and Noodles (that are not too greasy)

       Nut Shells


       Coffee Grounds and Filters

       Egg Shells


       Grass Clippings


       Tea bags & filters


You cannot compost:

·         Meat

·         Fish

·         Greasy Foods

·         Fried Foods

·         Cheese

·         Milk

·         Yogurt

·         Oils

·         Bones

·         Animal droppings



The green school committee will be working hard to make our school more green this year.  We will also be focusing on our final projects in the Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership Program (TP3).  We are currently a state TP3 Partner status school.  If you have any ideas or questions about the green happenings at University School please contact Kelli Barnett at



We Need Your Help!!!

The world consumes an estimated 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags each year.  It takes 60 million barrels of oil to produce 500 billion bags.  Bags buried in the landfill take as long as 1,000 years to break down.  You can help this global problem by purchasing a University School reusable grocery bag for $2.00.  You can also buy reusable water bottles for $8.00 with all proceeds benefiting our green school fund.   We have a lot of great ideas to move forward with our green school projects, but we need funds to implement these projects.  Thanks for your help!!!



Your green school committee has been working to fulfill projects in water conservation, energy conservation, hazardous chemicals and clean air in order to move to the next level in the Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership Green School program. 


You can help by purchasing reusable University School plastic water bottles for $8.00 and reusable University School grocery bags for $2.00 each.  These can be purchased in the office or by contacting Kelli Barnett at



Have you visited our new neighbor Earth Fare yet?  Earth Fare is the generous donor of our reusable grocery bag project.  In addition to supporting this cause at University School, Earth Fare has supported a variety of other causes to reduce the carbon footprint of consumers.  Earth Fare is a company that considers environmental impact in all its actions.  To review its environmental responsibility statement, product guidelines, and banned ingredients list visit the web site at:

There are four  levels in the state of Tennessee green school program and our school is now at the third level, Partner.  We are continuing to work hard on various projects to move to the Performer level.  We need your help on two of our current projects. 


One project to help clean our air in the school is being carried out by Mr. Rollins’ Biology classes.  Coupled with several different lab experiments, the Biology classes have begun producing root cuttings from plants found throughout the building.  The goal of the green committee is to be able to place at least one plant in every classroom and office in the school.  What the committee will need very soon are any extra pots that you might have lying around without plants in them.  If you would like to donate empty pots to our efforts please bring them by Ms. Kelli’s second grade classroom, room 118. 


The second project that needs your help is our reusable grocery bag project.  Which choice is better for the environment-paper or plastic?  Neither!  The “dirt” on plastic:  Plastic bags are made from nonrenewable petroleum resources and require the use of toxic chemicals during production and processing.  Plastic bags accommodate very few items, pile up at home, have a tendency to blow away making them a prevalent source of litter and dangerous to wildlife, are rarely recycled, and the ones that do make it to the landfill will last for several lifetimes.  The “dirt” on paper:  Every year 900 million trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.  In these mills 10 billion brown paper bags requiring virgin fibers for strength are produced.  Pulp and paper manufacturers are among the worst polluters of air, water and land in the country.


(Chrissy Trask, “It’s Easy Being Green: A Handbook for Earth-Friendly Living”, 2006.)


The solution:


One of our current green school initiatives is to change the way you shop.  Using reusable grocery bags makes sense.  You can impact our Earth with this simple choice in a major way.  It does take getting used to but you can make it a habit in time. To help out our school community our newest neighbor, Earth Fare, donated a big chunk of money to purchase reusable grocery bags for University School.  The bags are yellow with Earth Fare’s logo on one side and University School senior Jessica Hickman’s design on the other.  We are selling them for $2.00 per bag with 100% of sales going to our green school program fund.  If you are interested in purchasing bags please complete the form and send it to University School.  Bags can be sent home to you through your University School student or they can be left for you in the office for pick up. Contact Kelli Barnett at with any questions you have.


Have ideas or suggestions for the green school committee?  Talk to one of this year’s committee members: Kelli Barnett, Allyson Ross, Terri Knight or Rayne Price.  



What’s Going On?

Help Needed:

The green school committee is working on a reusable grocery bag project.  We have plans in the works to sell reusable grocery bags with a student- designed University School logo on one side and sponsor logos on the other side.  We are currently securing sponsors for this project to help with the upfront purchasing costs of the bags.  Proceeds from the sale of the bags will go to the University School Green School Fund to help with future green projects at our school.  If you have a business or know of someone who would be interested in helping sponsor this project please contact Kelli Barnett at .

What you can do to help

BATTERY DRIVE –  September 10. We held a battery drive last year and we are going to do it again. Please bring in your old cell phones or rechargeable batteries. There will be collection boxes outside the main office.


Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Direct those to Kelli Barnett.  Any donations in equipment (gardening supplies, creek clean-up equipment) would be helpful. Purchase a water bottle. The clear water bottles are still on sale. Those can be purchased for $8.00.


Thank you for all the support that you and your child give to this great cause at University School.


Tips for at home:


·    Many local merchants encourage customers to bring reusable bags to the store to bag new purchases. Target will pay you to reuse: when you bring your own reusable bags (from any merchant, they don't have to be Target brand) to bag your purchases, they will refund .05 for each one needed for your items.

Submitted by Kathleen Ecay, University School parent

Look for “green” products at your local stores. Painting supplies are being offered that are safe for our environment and our health.




What’s Going On?

We have some new additions:

•Committee members from last year continuing on- Kelli Barnett (chair), Regina Solomon, Rayne Price

•New committee members joining us this year- Allyson Ross, Nicole Morris, Terri Knight•Rain Barrel- We have added a rain barrel outside near the playground that will catch rain water. We will use this water with the compost piles and garden.•Garden- we also have a small garden outside by the playground which will be the focus of the elementary exploratory this year. •Air Quality Check- this was completed over the summer and the results will be available in the near future.Composting is continuing using waste from the lunchroom. Exploratory periods are continuing in all levels of the school. Another battery drive will be coming up in September so look for that information in the next newsletter.

What you can do to help

Any ideas or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Direct those to Kelli Barnett. Any donations in equipment (gardening supplies, creek clean-up equipment) would be helpful. Purchase a water bottle. The clear water bottles are still on sale. Those can be purchased for $8.00.

Thank you for all the support that you and your child give to this great cause at University School.

Tips for at home:


·         If you are shopping for a new grill, consider a propane-fired model. According to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, propane generates about half the carbon emissions of charcoal briquettes per hour of grilling, and one-third the emissions of electric grills (the emissions for which are generated at power plants). Charcoal also generates particulate matter (soot) that pollutes the air and can aggravate respiratory problems.

·         Already own a charcoal grill or prefer the taste that charcoal imparts to your food?  Lower your impact by choosing lump charcoal harvested from sustainably managed forests. Avoid charcoal briquettes if possible, as they may contain coal dust or other additives as binders. (If you use briquettes, be sure to dispose of the ash in the garbage instead of scattering it outside, where trace elements in the ash can harm plants.)

·         Whether you use lump charcoal or briquettes, light up your grill with a chimney starter instead of lighter fluid. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the 46,200 tons of lighter fluid used per year in the United States produces approximately 14,500 tons of smog-forming pollution.





Congratulations to our Green School Committee!!!  We have officially achieved Partner level in the TP3 program. This is the 3rd level with the 4th level being Performer. We won't get the green flag until we are a Performer. Your Green School committee is working hard to make Performer happen soon. In the meantime we do get a white banner and a certificate for being Partner. Jan Crompoton from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is coming on Friday May 23rd to present our school with our banner & certificate. We are going to make an announcement at 2:10 on that day for faculty & students to come to the front lawn. It will be a short presentation that will begin at 2:15. Great effort, University School!!!



Policy Statement:


University School is committed to the advancement of natural resource conservation and environmental stewardship in both our school and global communities.



What’s Going On?


University School is proud to announce that we have begun composting our cafeteria waste.  The elementary composting exploratory class has set up a school system that began on April 24th. Compostable materials are one of the most common recyclable materials that is sent to the landfill instead.  A lot of people think this doesn’t matter because these things will decompose no matter where it happens.  While it is true that compost happens most anywhere, the landfill is not one of those places.  At the landfill items are sealed in.  According to the website fifty year old organics excavated from landfills were still readily identifiable.  So we encourage you to consider composting at home.  We recommend digitalseed as a good resource to get you started.  Composting can be easy and can save you money, produce healthier plants, improve soil, save water and will divert waste from the landfill.


What Can You Do To Help?


We are still looking for donations in the form of gardening supplies (rakes, shovels, gloves), wading boots and pants (for future stream clean-up), eventually plants for our garden, ideas for improvements throughout the school, support for our projects, and of course monetary donations to help fund some of the ideas we are developing. You can also help by purchasing University School water bottles. They hold 13.5 ounces of water and cost $8. Order form






Start saving those recyclable batteries and cell phones. We will be holding a battery and cell phone recycling drive toward the end of this school year. We will continue in this effort over the following school year as well. More information to come.





Previously...........What’s Going On?


We are working on several projects in the building at all levels. It has been very fun and interesting to watch how involved our students have been on the various projects and how much they want to help our school.


Elementary – continues to work on the recycling campaign. Discussions are happening all the time getting our students thinking about what we can do as a school and community to help our environment. Composting experiments have also begun as we build our outside stations.


Middle School – conducted a letter writing campaign to send to local municipalities to encourage recycling at their locations. The students had to research the locations and develop the letters to write, encouraging recycling efforts.


High School – conducting a clean air survey of the building and developing ideas to implement air quality control and safe practices.


Efforts throughout the whole school include project ideas surrounding composting, gardening, window tinting, turning off vending machine lights, hand blowers in the bathrooms, a lesson on batteries, and changing exit signs to more efficient LED lights. 


What Can You Do To Help?


We are looking for donations in the form of gardening supplies (rakes, shovels, gloves), wading boots and pants (for future stream clean-up), eventually plants for our garden, ideas for improvements throughout the school, support for our projects, and of course monetary donations to help fund some of the ideas we are developing. You can also help by purchasing University School water bottles. They hold 13.5 ounces of water and cost $8.


Tips for at Home:


Steps you can do at home to live a more energy efficient lifestyle:


·         Faucets – a faucet that drips once per second can waste more than 3000 gallons of water. Replace the washer or o-ring as one step or replace the entire faucet. Faucets purchased before 1994 can have a flow rate of 3-7 gallons per minute. The current federal law says faucets can have a maximum flow of 2.2 gallons per minute.


·         Toilets – toilets can use as much as 7 gallons per flush. 1994 also brought changes for toilets. New toilets may use only 1.6 gallons and some more energy efficient dual systems can use as low as .9 gallons per minute.


Better Homes and Gardens April 2008



What’s Going On?


University School is leading the way on campus in plastic water bottle recycling. But have you ever thought about where all those bottles come from?


Did you know?


•-Seventy-four percent of Americans drink bottled water, and one in five drinks only bottled water. Worldwide, consumers spent $100 billion on bottled water in 2005.


•-Each year more than 4 billion pounds of PET plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter. Nine out of ten bottles end up as garbage or litter.


•-Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil last year – enough fuel for more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year – and generated more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.


Bottled water is healthier, right?


•-In 2002, 1.5 million tons of plastic was used to package 6 billion gallons of bottled water. The production of this plastic leads to the release of a variety of chemicals.  Most smaller bottles are made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET) which, according to the Berkeley Ecology Center, generates more than 100 times more toxic emissions than an equivalent amount of glass.


•-Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which has weaker regulations than the EPA regulations for tap water.


•"Single use" plastic bottles made of polyethylene terephthalate [#1 PET or PETE] are not recommended for repeat use because of the risk of bacterial contamination from infrequent and insufficient washing.


Do you know about the impact on Water Supply?


•The withdrawal of large quantities of water from springs and aquifers for bottling has depleted household wells in rural areas, damaged wetlands, and degraded aquifers.


What about the price?


•1 bottle/day x 5 days/ week = $260/year




◦Tap water = $.0015/gallon


◦Filtered water = $.13/gallon


◦Bottled water = $1.27/gallon


What can you do to help University School and the environment?


The Green School Committee is selling reusable plastic water bottles. They hold 13.5 ounces of water and cost $8. Each bottle has University School printed on it. You can write your child’s name on the bottle and they can use it at school.

Order form


More news about what we are doing school wide in the next newsletter.




*** Breaking News ***


University School has been credited as being the largest contributor in the ETSU campus recycling project!!!


For the year (since 11/12/07):


                22 .5 lbs of aluminum


                113.5 lbs of plastic


Go Bucs!!!!!



What is Green School?

                Green Schools is part of the Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership (TP3), an initiative of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Environmental Assistance. TP3 is a statewide network of households, schools, government agencies, organizations, businesses, and industries, working together to protect our shared environment through pollution prevention. Our schools can help our children become stewards of the Earth by increasing their awareness of environmental problems and solutions. 


(Retrieved from


University School goals for the 2007-2008 school year:


•Look for opportunities within our school and community to raise environmental awareness and lower our environmental impact

•Lead the faculty and students’ effort in obtaining TP3 Green School status

We have met to discuss these goals and what we are going to do to work toward becoming a partner and eventually gaining TP3 status.


Any ideas that you may have are welcome.


Contact: Ms. Keli Barnett


Check out this web site for more information about the Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership.










A Green Cleaning Basket –


1. Polish wood – Choose a vegetable based soap to polish wood floors and furniture to add glow. Suggestion: Murphy’s Oil Soap


2.  Wash dishes – Choose detergents free of chlorine, phosphates, and synthetic chemicals. Suggestion: Ecover Automatic Dishwasher Powder or Mr. Meyer’s Clean Day Dish Soap


3.  All-Purpose Cleaner – a plant-based cleaner will remove stains from almost anywhere – walls, windows, countertops, and appliances. Suggestion: Shaklee Basic H2O Organic Super Cleaner Concentrate


4.  Scour Grime – Biodegradable scouring powder with mineral abrasives cleans countertops, grout, outdoor furniture, grills, ovens, showers, sinks, and stoves. Suggestion: Bon Ami


5. Whiten Surfaces – a non-chlorine oxygen bleach cleanser tackles stains on grout, sinks, bath tubs, and toilets. Suggestion: Jason Heather’s Oxygen Bleach Cleanser


Better Homes and Gardens, August 2007, page 88.


What’s going on throughout the school?


Elementary: The elementary has been having multi-age exploratory classes centered  around environmental themes that integrate science and math.  We have a recycling exploratory, composting exploratory, reduce & reuse exploratory and a reporting exploratory.  The recycling exploratory has visited a recycling center and looked into a variety of ways we can recycle more and why.  The composting exploratory has visited a composting garden, experimented with small composting bins and is meeting with the physical plant soon to plan a school composting bin for our cafeteria waste.  The reduce and reuse exploratory has visited the landfill and created model landfills.  The reporting exploratory has visited the East Tennessean, completed the school environmental survey and is setting up a green school web site.  We are excited about the many projects we have going!


Middle: The Middle School has constructed composting piles (small ones).  They will soon do a waste audit of the school (trash from lunch) to get an idea of what we throw away and what we should recycle.


High: Finishing the green school audit


Whole School: There are paper recycling boxes in every classroom. We have both can and bottle recycling bins throughout the school. 


The committee is continuing to meet to develop our plans for gaining partnership with this project. Everyone throughout the school is working hard in the effort to make University School become a Green School. Check out the bulletin board across from Ms. Kelli’s room for more Green School news.




Tips for at home


·         Fix any leaky faucet, toilets, or water pipes – a small leak can add up to a lot of water over time


·         Conserve fuel by turning down the heat at night and while you are away from home – or install programmable thermostat


·         Use non-toxic cleaning alternatives like the ones mentioned in previous newsletters


·         Compost your food waste and use as a nutrient rich soil for your lawn. Leaves make an excellent source of material for this too.






The Green School Committee is moving right along to develop and implement our plans throughout the school. It is a huge endeavor but one that will be well worth it. Talk to your kids at home about what it means to be green at school, at home, and in the community.




Do-It-Yourself Cleaners


The Basic Ingredients:


•Baking Soda – works best on proteins, grease, and animal messes. Because it is slightly abrasive, it can be used for scouring – and of course, it’s a natural deodorizer.

•Distilled White Vinegar – This mild acid works on alkaline substances, dissolving scale, inhibiting mold, and cutting soap scum. It’s terrific for stains such as coffee, rust, and tea.

•Simple Soap – Try castle soap, made with olive oil or a vegetable-based soap. Both attach to soil at the molecular level, so you can rinse dirt away with water.

The Recipes:


•Soft Scrub – Add enough soap to 1/8 cup baking soda to make a creamy mixture. Apply with sponge to clean, rinse the surface well. Use and discard.

•Appliance Cleaner – Dry baking soda shines up small appliances and even removes bread wrappers burned to the toaster. Try rubbing a teaspoon on to your grubby blender or food processor with a clean flannel cloth.

•Toilet Cleaner/Deodorizer – Sprinkle toilet bowl with ¼ cup baking soda. Drizzle with ¼ cup vinegar, then scour with a toilet brush.

•Oven Cleaner – Sprinkle oven with ¼ cup baking soda (more if needed) and spray with water. Let it sit for several hours or overnight before scraping up stains and spills. Rinse thoroughly with water.

•Harwood Floor Cleaner – In a pail or bucket, mix ¼ cup distilled white vinegar in one gallon warm water. Mop wood or linoleum floors, then rinse with water, making sure not to leave large pools to dry.

*Better Homes and Gardens, August 2007, page 90


What’s going on throughout the school?


The second grade class and the middle school exploratory class completed a stream clean-up project together on Thursday, November 29.


The Physical Plant is donating a small compost bin for us to use for the elementary composting exploratory groups to begin to set up our cafeteria compost system.  We will be adding more bins that are of the hand crank variety as we can.  These will be easiest for little hands to turn.  We will let you know how and what to compost once the system is set up.  They have also agreed to supply all materials and to actually construct a series of raised garden beds for us this winter.  They will be ready to go this spring and we will be able to put our compost to good use.


We have put in place a system for recycling the cardboard waste we have here at school.


The high school is conducting a Clean Air survey that will get them ready to begin a project with the Clean Air Tools for Schools.


There are several other projects in the works so look for how you can help University School in our efforts to be a Green School. We will be selling environmental safe bottles and eventually cloth bags for you to use at the grocery stores to cut down on plastic and paper bag waste.


The committee will be meeting again in January. A date will be set soon. If you are interested in being a part of this, please come to the meeting. Contact Kelli Barnett for information. Email her through the University School web site.


Tips for at home


·         Do not throw out your toxic household wastes, such as paint, paint thinner, and car fluids, in the garbage or down the drain. Check with local facilities for proper disposal.


·         If you have a furnace, fireplace or gas heater, have them serviced regularly to prevent deadly fumes and install a carbon monoxide detector.


·         With Christmas coming, you may need batteries for all those toys and gadgets. Remember to buy rechargeable batteries.


·         Conserve energy by using timers on Christmas lights inside and out.


·         Check out this web site for “Green” Christmas ideas: