Samuel Garcia, a fifth grade student from PS10 in Brooklyn, NY, poses with Plastic Man. Plastic Man is about the size of a 30-pound boy, and 30 pounds is the weight of plastic bags thrown away in a year by each person in the United States. He sits in class to remind students to use and throw away less plastic because plastic remains in the environment for hundreds of years.
Samuel Garcia, a fifth grade student from PS10 in Brooklyn, NY, poses with Plastic Man. Plastic Man is about the size of a 30-pound boy, and 30 pounds is the weight of plastic bags thrown away in a year by each person in the United States. Plastic Man sits in class to remind students to use and throw away less plastic because plastic remains in the environment for hundreds of years.

By KRISTEN VON HOFFMANN

You may have heard the term “sustainability,” but what does it mean exactly? Sustainability refers to human systems that run for a long time with little or no harm to the natural environment. In your classroom, the most immediate way to start a sustainability plan is to create a classroom green team. The team can create categories for chores, such as: Energy, Waste Disposal, Food, Products, and Greenspace.

Here are some ideas:
In Your Classroom
• Unplug electronics when you’re not using them.
• Turn off lights when you leave the classroom as a group.
• Use recycled paper for homework and classwork.
• Re-use containers for storage.
• Re-use safe waste materials for class projects.

In Your School
• Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation to get to school.
• Implement a school-wide recycling program.
• Produce materials to educate students about how to recycle metals, bottles, paper, newspapers, magazines,
cardboard and plastics.
• If you bring your lunch to school, use reusable bags and bottles.
• Start a school garden to learn about the health, environmental and taste benefits of organic food.

Kristen von Hoffmann is founder of Greenfox Schools. For more information, go to www.greenfoxschools.com