Green Team



The Harrington PTA Green Team is a group of parent volunteers
Please join us in leading our school and community toward a greener future

Our robust recycling and compost program at every lunch drastically reduces the amount of waste sent to the landfill and incinerator. We need parent volunteers to help oversee this valuable program.
It’s easy!

Students (your kids!) can also volunteer. Several intrepid third graders stepped in last year when we lacked parent volunteers, and now all 2-5 graders are eligible to help out. This year, let’s have so many parent volunteers that you’re volunteering WITH your child.

We started pen and electronics recycling last year and the response has been overwhelming. Keep ‘em coming! What are your ideas for what we can collect next?


Lunch Bins
Every day, students sort their leftovers into three categories: recycling, compost, or trash. Our goal is to have students discard independently and correctly even on the days when parent volunteers are not present. To achieve this, the kids follow these practices, and travel the waste line from #1 to #5:

Sort your stuff Before students get into the waste line, they organize their trays (or leftovers from home) into recycling, compost, and trash. They empty leftovers onto their trays and “spoon clean” containers, which means excess food is removed by spoon or napkin. Volunteers also have spatulas. This ensures that recyclables are as clean as possible.
Each table has a visual guide to help the kids sort. Then, each station has a 3-D sign that shows the objects that go into that bin (see photo above).
1. Bucket Pour out liquids
2. Blue bin/recycling Empty drink containers and all empty recyclable plastics
3. Trash bin Plastic utensils, straws, single-use snack bags, foil-type juice pouches (like Capri Sun); Ziploc bags (or take home to wash and reuse)
4. Compost bin All foods, napkins, paper towels, straw wrappers
5. Tray bin Stack trays: stacked drastically reduces volume; they will go in the compost bin after the last lunch


Even if your busy schedule does not allow your presence in the cafeteria during the day, you can still help by:
  • Recycling/composting at home
  • Saying goodbye to single use packaging, and hello to reusables:
    • Pack your child’s snack and lunch with reusable food and drink containers (rinse and reuse those Ziploc bags!)
  • Talking to your child about the recycling/composting at school.
  • Encouraging your kids to bring home leftovers so you get a sense of what isn’t being eaten (and then compost it at homes)
  • Don’t forget the white bin in the parking lot for textile recycling (see more here)
  • Helping us plan Earth Day/Week events
  • Volunteering at Harrington special events. Below is the zero waste station that we use at all school events:
  • Zero Waste Station
  • Send us your ideas!


  • Since we began full compost and recycling in 2016, lunchtime generates ½ bags of trash each day, instead of the 6-8 55-gallon bags of trash we had every day previously. Wow!
  • We are leading Harrington toward zero waste events in all school-related activities:
    • PTA Back to School breakfast
    • Harrington Hurrah
    • Fun Run
    • International Night
    • Spring Fair
  • It’s fun: the grade that does the best lunchtime recycling and composting each month is (ceremonially) awarded this nifty Tidy Tray!
Tidy Tray