Friday, February 21, 2014

School Trays Made of Sugar are Sweet News to Us

 School Trays Made of Sugar are Sweet News to Us

Did you know that disposable polystyrene foam goods enjoy a usage time of only about 30 minutes but, whether incinerated, landfilled, littered or recycled, they leave a trail of toxic particles that last forever?

So Hip Hip Hooray! New York City and five other large school districts-Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and Orlando-agreed to purchase environmentally friendly lunch trays for their schools starting this fall. The round biodegradable plates are made of a sugar cane byproduct. The Urban School Alliance's bid for over 271,000 million of the new trays will keep that many more million carcinogenic, polystyrene trays out of our landfills.

The move away from single-use polystyrene to "green" trays could never have happened without the work of grassroots movements, such as Cafeteria Culture, founded by public school mom Debby Lee Cohen. Starting in 2009 Cohen and her kid-driven program began agitating for action, often staging protests with large puppets made of Styrofoam. Fifteen other city groups joined with them in their cause, and the result: in December 2013 The New York City Council voted Yes for Intro 1060 to ban disposable polystyrene foam-not just in schools but in restaurants, and food carts.

Examples like this are so inspiring for us at Skraptacular-showing how much can be done when like-minded community members band together and get youth involved in actions that save our planet. What are you doing?

Who Were the Greenest Presidents in the White House? 

While kids revel in a week away from reading, writing and 'rithmetic, let's remember that this is "Presidents Week." Skraptacular would like to remember the presidents who have done the most for our environment. Do you know who they are? Here are four...

  • George Washington can be considered our nation's first colonial composter. His "repository for dung," was the first of its kind in our nation. Washington also introduced crop rotation and used many land conservation measures after seeing the damage tobacco wreaked on Virginia's soil

  • Both Roosevelts conserved our national treasures. Theodore Roosevelt created the first National Bird Preserve at Pelican Island, FL, and he established the U.S. Forest Service, creating more than 190 million acres of new national forest, parks and monuments. As part of the New Deal, nephew Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, which provided work for millions of unemployed men, who planted billions of trees, built our hiking trails, cleaned up streams and constructed more than 800 parks across the nation.

  • Richard Milhaus Nixon is best known for being forced out of office due to the Watergate scandal, but we can thank him for several environmentally friendly acts and policies; he created the Environmental Protection Agency, signed the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1973, and the Endangered Species Act of 1974.
Honor your favorite eco-president by placing his portrait in a DIYup-cycled newspaper frame

Click here for more info on eco-prezzies 

 As of today SPRING is only one month away, which means our SPRINGING AFFAIR is coming soon

Friday, February 14, 2014

Skraptacular Recycles a Tried-and-True 
Tradition in Westchester

Remember bringing an old shoe box to grade school and covering it clumsily with tissue paper, construction paper hearts, lacy doilies and lots of Elmer's glue? You made a ragged slit in the top, with a blunt scissors, and waited to see what letters, or candy hearts, you would find within.

On Sunday, February 9th , Skraptacular recycled this venerable tradition with the Girl Scouts of Larchmont and Mamaroneck. Over 70 girls and women attended three Mother-Daughter Eco-Valentine's Box Workshops. We asked mother-daughter pairs to bring in old photos, pieces of jewelry, old letters and more to make a box that might, in time, become another treasured family memento. Skraptcular provided salvaged boxes, paper scraps and glue, and the mothers and daughters provided the creativity, shared memories and love.


Skraptacular is happy to work with more Girl Scout troops, especially ones local to Manhattan. Please contact us if you are involved in a troop and are interested or know of a troop that could benefit from Skraptacular. What better way to earn a "Conservation" Badge?

...And in Manhattan: Workshops for United Palace and Dream Catchers

Skraptacular continues to donate workshops to underserved communities, bringing the Eco-Valentines Box making workshop to two groups in Upper Manhattan. Yesterday afternoon, we brought our boxes, glue, scraps and enthusiasm to children at the United Palace Afterschool and Enrichment Program. While this week is Eco-Valentines Box week, we are donating five weeks of Skraptacular workshops to this group of underserved children in the Northern Manhattan community. At Skraptacular we show that it doesn't take money to make art. The materials are all around us, often in our trash cans. But it does take some guidance, and that's what we can provide.

Today we will work with Dream Catchers, a Special Delinquency Prevention Program (SDPP), which provides a creative arts program for at-risk girls ages 13-18, and we'll come back to work with Dream Catchers every ten weeks on different projects.



Thanks to your generosity, we can continue to reach out to communities like Dream Catchers and United Palace Afterschool and Enrichment Program. Your funds, volunteer time, attendance at our events and interest in our work sustains us. As a special Valentine's Gift, here's a Hearts & Crafts activity just for you and/or your little ones (or you can be inspired and make your own eco-Valentine's box)! Hope your day is filled with love (and candy).                                                     


Skraptacular Announces Partnership with
Jack Johnson's From Here To Now to You Tour

Dubbed "The World's Mellowest Superstar" by RollingStone Magazine, Jack Johnson is a world-renowned singer-songwriter, surfer, filmmaker, and musician who has made it his mission to improve our planet. With his wife he created the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, which is one of our major grantors.

Now Skraptacular is teaming up with Jack Johnson on his 2014 From Here To Now To You Tour and All At Once, a social action network connecting nonprofits with people who want to become active in their local and world community. All At Once comes to life online and at the Jack Johnson concerts where you can get educated, get inspired, and connect face-to-face with us and other local and national non-profits. All At Once promotes sustainable local food systems and plastic free initiatives.

Look out for more information on our one for one matching grant and our appearances at Jack Johnson's Jones Beach and Prospect Park concerts in June.

All At Once 2013
All At Once 2013

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Tribute to Pete Seeger

A tribute to Pete Seeger

"If there's a world here in a hundred years, it's going to be saved by tens of millions of little things."- Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee - Down by the Riverside
Pete Seeger, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee - Down by the Riverside

In 1966, the year I was born, Pete Seeger, in despair over the pollution of his beloved Hudson River,  announced plans to "build a boat to save a river".  The sloop Clearwater was one man's vision to start a grassroots action that played an important role in the passage of laws to clean up our nations waterways . Pete Seeger is my hero and my inspiration for bringing people together to increase environmental awareness.
In celebration of this great man's life let's all take small steps to craft a more sustainable, eco-conscious existence on our amazing planet--from bringing your own bags to supermarkets and refusing more free tote bags--to creating one-of-a-kind artworks from would be refuse.  

Save the Date!! 
Our third annual fundraiser, A Skraptacular Springing Affair, will take place on the evening of Thursday, March 27th  at 307 West 38th St(between 8th and 9th, 20th floor). We hope you will join us in celebrating our achievements of the past year and helping us raise the funds that will allow us to accomplish our 2014 goals. This fundraiser comes a week into Spring-which can't come soon enough this year-and features a silent auction with items ranging from an iPod Touch to original art, live music, food and drink and lively company.