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The Environmental Center

Teacher, Parent and Kid Friendly!

kids standing in fron of a school bus
Children are stewards of our environment and need the right tools to make informed choices and teach their friends and families how to preserve the world we live in.
The Solid Waste Management Division recycling specialists often are asked by many teachers, parents and students about what kinds of things they can do to help the environment or other projects they can get involved with at school or at home. This webpage was set up to answer those questions, and with feedback as well.

We love the 3 R's. What are they? Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. That means reduce waste through purchasing less items, and items with little to no packaging; reuse materials more than once and avoid single use Products; and recycle whatever materials are left after you reduce and reuse items.

Check out our glossary for any terms you do not know.

Spotlight on Recycling

These programs really shine!

North Shore Elementary School

Each quarter Solid Waste Management Division spotlights an elementary school. This quarter it's North Shore Elementary!

kids around CRV collection
Students put their collected CRV materials into collection boxes at North Shore Elementary

Students gathered in front of recycling collection bin
Students gathered in front of recycling collection bin.

Students with sports equipment
Students collected CRV bottle and cans to purchase equipment for those in need.

Students making posters
Students work on project to inform other students and community on recycling project.
North Shore Elementary EarlyAct is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Big Bear Lake. EarlyAct provides opportunities for elementary students ages 5-13 in character-building activities and prepares them for leadership roles to identify and carry out projects which benefit their school, local community and international service. The program is school-wide, so all students have an opportunity to participate. "Recycling projects fit very well into our program. The students recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans from school, their homes and as a community drop-off site. In five years 1.47 tons was diverted. Cell phones and reading eye glasses are also recycled," said Jean Brownie, Rotarian Advisor.

EarlyAct teams make up recycling education games for each classroom on the importance of "reduce, reuse and recycle" and to buy recycled products. The students and teachers are amazed at the variety of things being remade.

With the recycling funds EarlyAct purchased/donated:
  • to the Haiti earthquake relief fund,
  • art supplies,
  • two picnic tables used for tutoring and small meetings,
  • personal notes,
  • desk items for teacher appreciation,
  • and P.E. and recess equipment, (see photo).
"We want to thank the San Bernardino County Solid Waste Management Division, for supporting our recycling program," said Pat Elbert, Faculty Advisor.

North Shore elementary has collected 3072lbs of recyclables since starting their CRV collection 2004.


right hand
"Wow, so much stuff gets made from recycled materials"
left hand
"All these things could be made from bottles?"

What is your school doing to go green? We would love to know! Send us an email and/or photos and we will be happy to highlight your project/program!

Why Recycle?

  • Recycling saves our clean air and clean water.
  • Recycling saves energy.
  • Recycling conserves our natural resources.
  • Recycling saves landfill space.
  • Recycling saves money and creates jobs.
purple and orange recycle symbol

Did you know...

What type of trash takes up the most space in US landfills?
  1. plastic
  2. metal
  3. paper
  4. yard waste
The answer is c. The trash most commonly found in municipal landfills is plain old paper-on average, it accounts for more than 40 percent of a landfill's contents. Newspapers, which can be recycled, can take up as much as 13 percent of the space in US landfills and deteriorates very slowly in a landfill. So recycle your paper!

girl recycling


Every ton of paper recycled saves enough energy to heat and air condition the average American home for at least six months!

Help Your Child Learn About Recycling

Children learn by example, so be a good role model by practicing Earth Care every day. Never litter, and make recycling a habit.
  • Set up a recycling center in your home. Designate a spot for recyclables before they're taken out for curbside pickup or to a recycling center. Encourage your child to help you separate the recyclables from non-recyclables.
  • Look on-line or call your local recycling coordinator to make sure you are recycling properly.
  • Recycle yard waste by leaving grass clippings on your lawn (also known as grasscycling.)
  • Buy products made with recycled materials or with little or no packaging
  • Build a compost pile by mixing fruits and yard remains. You can use compost to help your garden grow and can be used as mulch around trees and shrubs.
kids holding the earth

To contact us:

Department of Public Works
Solid Waste Management Division
222 West Hospitality Lane
Second Floor
San Bernardino, CA 92415

Phone: (909)386-8701
Toll Free: 1-800-722-8004
Fax: (909)386-8900