This week is Composting Week!

From May 5 2019 to May 11, 2019, celebrate composting week by being more mindful of your food waste!

1. Reduce the amount of uneaten food this week.

Try planning your meals ahead of time and placing older food in the front of your refrigerator and older food in the back and labeling foods by date, you can keep your meals and ingredients fresh. By keeping your foods fresh and in good condition, you can reduce the need to throw away food in the first place.

2. Learn How to Compost!

Follow these tips to compost! To get started, you simply need a closed container (with small air holes), browns (dried leaves, coffee grinds, saw dust), fruit and vegetable scraps (no meat or dairy products), and a little bit of water! This container will naturally breakdown your food waste and organic materials as long as you stick to using the right ingredients and turn the compost once a week!

3. Use your compost!
You can use the compost created by your container to grow plants, vegetables, and herbs to create your own food! If you don’t want to grow plants, feel free to donate your compost to a local organization or a nearby gardener!

Let us know how long you have been composting in our social media page!

Finding Facts Amidst Fiction

With the amount of information available in the world today, how do we know what claims made about the environment are trustworthy? While some scientific articles, ads, and headlines make claims that seem too good to be true, others make outlandish claims to draw readers in. Fake news published in articles, blogs, and ads have been distributed by organizations and individuals who have interests that benefit from dissuading people from believing in real scientific studies. In recent years, fake news has reached more people than ever before due to social media sharing and information bubbles.

To fight scientific misinformation in the classroom, Andy Zucker and Penny Noyce have developed a “Resisting Scientific Misinformation” curriculum for science teachers who educate 6th – 12th grade students. It’s a free online curriculum program aims to help young students distinguish scientific ‘misinformation’ from reality.

Learn more about it here:

Here are the top 4 ways to fight scientific misinformation in the classroom and beyond:

– Ensure that your news is credible by reading through some citation sources and checking in to see if the piece is an opinion piece or from a blog written by a non-professional. Opinion pieces allow people to state their opinion rather than absolute facts.

– Be aware of claims based on personal stories, people using their status to assert that their opinion is correct, and the phrase “the science is uncertain.”

– Check out these news related tips to see how fake news works and how to be aware of sources that use “truth-stretching” methods. This will help you determine more accurate news sources for what you want to learn!

– Download the Resisting Scientific Misinformation Teacher Guide here at

Halloween has long been known as one of the least environmentally-friendly holidays. Between countless candy wrappers, costumes made of harmful plastics, and decorations which burn a lot of energy; it can be hard to navigate a holiday which means so much to so many. Luckily, here’s Grades of Green’s Guide to an Environmentally-Friendly Hallo-green!



  1. Conscientious Costumes

Costumes sold at Halloween super-stores are often made of materials like PVC which contain phthalate. These materials may be flame-retardant but they end up in a landfill leaking toxic chemicals into the environment. In fact, extended exposure to these chemicals could have adverse health effects.


Host a costume swap! Just like with candy, everyone likes a little variety in their costumes! But rather than shell out cash for a new costume every year, host a costume swap with your friends and mix it up! If you’re unable to find friends in your size, join Grades of Green’s virtual costume closet!


Design your own costume using supplies you already have at home! Another way to save some green while going green, create your own hallo-green masterpiece from things around the house. Grades of Green’s Litter Monster is not only a great costume, but is a great way to raise awareness for waste reduction efforts.


You can also turn an old bridesmaid’s dress you’ll never wear into an undead party-goer with some homemade fake blood. Take an old yoga mat and turn it into a slice of pizza or a British telephone booth.


  1. Spooky Sustainable Decorations

Not only are the costumes and decorations comprised of materials which are non-combustible, the plastic packaging they come in only compounds their harmful impact. Rather than spend money on decorations which will likely be thrown out in November, recycle egg cartons into bats or make skeletons our of recycled milk jugs. Old stockings with tears can be made into spider webs, add a construction paper spider and your hallo-green party will be the talk of the town. The opportunities are endless and it can make for a creative DIY project for the whole family.


  1. Green Your Treats

While we would love to reduce waste, handing out candy which is not individually wrapped may not go over well with concerned parents. Instead, you can hand out organic goodies with a significantly smaller environmental footprint, like these organic lollipops.


  1. Potluck Party

Host a pot-luck hallo-green party and ask your friends to bring their contributions in re-usable containers. Halloween parties can be a huge perpetrator of environmental efforts due to single-use plastics. Hosting a potluck party using silverware instead of single use cutlery will significantly reduce the holiday’s environmental impact.


  1. Trick-or-Treat

Avoid hard plastic jack-o-lanterns that will never breakdown in a landfill. Instead using tote bags, reusable shopping bags, or a pillow case to collect goodies is an easy way to be environmentally-friendly.


Instead of driving to your trick-or-treat destination, walking will help reduce the number of dangerous pollutants we expel into the atmosphere. Not to mention that it will help burn off the countless calories consumed later that night!


  1. LED the Way!

Use solar panel lights to illuminate the path toward your haunted mansion.


Sweep your sidewalk when clearing a path for trick-or-treaters; you’ll be saving gallons of water by not using a hose.


  1. Pumped for Pumpkin!

Buy organic and shop local! You’ll protect water and reduce carbon emissions by picking up your pumpkin from your local farm. Click Here to locate your local family farm.


Save the seeds and pulp from your pumpkin to make delicious snacks and baked goods. By reusing or composting our unwanted pumpkin parts, we can reduce dangerous greenhouse gases. Check out our favorite recipes for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Pumpkin Pie, and Pumpkin Soup.


Our Water Campaign Student Teams will tell you that eating a meat-less pumpkin based meal would be protecting water. By reusing the pumpkin seeds and pulp we reduce waste. For more fun ways to reuse, recycle and reduce waste, register for our Waste Campaign now!





For more DIY projects, green activities, and other ways to remain environmentally-friendly, visit Send your green solutions or pictures of your Hallo-green Holiday to @gradesofgreen or send us a message on Facebook!

Need a new show to watch?

Check out Insecure!, HBO’s revolutionary show based on Issa Rae’s webseries, “Awkward Black Girl” has been warmly received by several teachers working with Grades of Green. The show stars Issae Rae and Yvonne Orji, who play two up-and-coming women of color sharing their experiences and struggles in non-profit and professional working environments.

Featuring Your Favorite Non-Profit!

Grades of Green made a cameo in this week’s Insecure Episode, “Backwards-like.” The female protagonists, Issa and Molly attend a job fair hosting several non-profits, including yours truly! Moreover, two of Grades of Green’s interns were also featured in the episode helping with the Grades of Green booth at the event!

Look for us when you check out Season 3 of “Insecure!”

Banning Straws!

In the past few weeks, we have kept you all updated on Daves Ave Elementary’s Grades of Green Team and their efforts to ban straws and single-use plastics in the Los Gatos School District! And…

We’re happy to announce that Daves Ave Elementary has SUCCESSFULLY banned straws in their entire school district! After creating and reciting skits and presentations on plastics throughout the semester, the school continued to mobilize to improve waste reduction. They collected signatures for their petition to ban straws in the school district and to support measures in California to reduce straw usage. The team sent over 160 letters agreeing to their petition to both their school district and to their local assemblyman. After receiving the letters and hearing these concerns, the Team was invited to present their case to their school district. They were given 5 minutes to convince the district to reduce straw usage. The students argued that straws were not necessary for their milk cartons nor were they needed for water- the two served drinks in their cafeteria. In addition, they used the facts that they presented to their schools earlier in the year and educated the school board about the dangers of plastic pollution. They argued that plastic pollution was especially dangerous to marine health and certain plastics, like the plastic from straws and plastic utensils, were especially difficult to recycle. After a passionate display of knowledge and environmental advocacy, the Grades of Green Team waited in anticipation to hear back from the school district.

Last week, the Los Gatos School District agreed to ban straws in the entire district and are in works to replace utensils with biodegradable options and compostable napkins. Previously, utensils, straws, and napkins would be provided in plastic packets that would be handed to all students- essentially forcing students to create waste. However, with this new measure, the school will greatly reduce their plastic waste output! In addition, in honor of their cafeteria’s Trash-Free Tuesdays, their school lunches will now be completely waste free on Tuesdays. The cafeterias agreed to opt for meals that can be eaten without utensils, like sandwiches and burritos!

Join Us!

Green Teams, like the one at Daves Ave Elementary, have achieved success through education, spreading awareness, and keeping up pressure on officials. If you want to join an amazing network of Grades of Green schools who are advocating for the environment, sign up here!

Resourceful and Daring!

Kanwal, a Grades of Green student in Pakistan, continues to impress! Last semester, she noticed that environmental education was lacking in her community. Moreover, the lack of trash and recycling infrastructure did her no favors. Thus, the ambitious student took matters into her own hands and organized a “Single Use Plastic” Seminar last year. With environmental experts and professors to talk about plastics, the seminar brought the hazards of plastic waste to her community.

Building Eco Momentum

After finding ways to make environmental issues relevant to her community, Kanwal has continued her passion to spread awareness to students. Being as resourceful as she is, Kanwal up-cycled thrown away cardboard and paper to make large presentations for her students. With these repurposed boards, she has reached out to over 600 students! The students have been receptive and enthusiastic to these messages of reusing goods and reducing dependency on plastic. With such a great response, Kanwal is hopeful that these kids will grow up to be amazing environmental advocates as well!

Thanks for sharing your passion in the environment with others, Kanwal!

New York City has it’s newest Grades of Green intern: Polina Maurer!

Polina has a degree in Environmental Engineering from Russia and has also studied Waste water utilization and purification in Denmark. From a young age, Polina was passionate about eco-living and recycling. She was stunned by the differences in methods, legislation and awareness about environmental problems the Earth faces in different countries. She took part in a volunteering group in her hometown, Tomsk, where she explained the importance of recycling and natural resources conservation. Polina wants to make eco-living an easier and approachable experience for all people around the world.

Polina is excited to be part of Grades of Green to make environmental education a fun experience for students around the world!

Please help us welcome Susan Warshaw as the new Executive Director of Grades of Green! We are excited and honored to have Susan lead Grades of Green as we continue to change the course of the future by making environmental protection second-nature in young minds.

“I’m eager to lead the Grades of Green team as we inspire and empower more students around the nation and the world to care for the environment. From our start at one school just a short while ago, we are quickly expanding to meet the need for K-12 environmental education that brings students, parents and the larger school community together for sustainable results,” explains Warshaw.

Get to know Susan here and say come say hi at outreach events around Southern California.

Click here to view the release and share with others!

Interested in joining the Grades of Green staff, intern and volunteer team? Email for more information.

Media Coverage:

My Social Good News

The Beach Reporter

The Easy Reader