Rainy Day Litter Clean Ups!

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Our interns were adamant that they wanted to spend their rainy day after-school meeting cleaning up the shoreline. After learning about the drainage system in Oakland, the urgency to collect litter and stop it from entering the Bay was of high importance.

Interns collected over 1,000 pieces of litter in a short amount of time. Majority of the litter collected was plastic and styrofoam. The student group expressed feeling frustrated by the amount of trash that was along the shoreline. A lot of it was outside of their reach. While they did their part cleaning up, they engaged in lots of conversations of what else could be done.

Students suggested bringing out a machine to scoop out the vast amounts of trash, but they re-evaluated that idea acknowledging that that would mean putting a lot of organics in the landfill and potentially destroying the ecosystem for critters. The conversations continued with all individuals bouncing ideas back and forth.

While it was disappointing to clean up so much trash and still leave a lot behind, the conversations and passion left the group hopeful and motivated.


Peer to Peer Training: Interns Collaborate to Conduct a Contamination Waste Audit

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Our Earth Team programs have a diversity of service learning projects that we work on; this creates the perfect space for peer to peer training and project sharing.

Pinole Earth Team recently had a 3-Bin system implemented at their school and expressed interest in learning more about sorting and how their system was working so far. To kick things off, Oakland Tech Campus Coordinator joined in on a Pinole after-school meeting to train the students on how to properly sort and why it’s important. It was a fun day of hands-on activities and conversations about how to reduce waste in all aspects of life.

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After being trained on how to sort, Pinole Earth Team interns were eager to conduct a contamination waste audit of their school’s new system. Who better than to lead them through the process than our Oakland Tech Waste experts?

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Pinole interns backed in the van and headed to Oakland Tech campus, and their school waste joined them on their journey. Oakland Tech interns partnered up with Pinole interns and guided them through all the different components of the audit; collecting data, sorting into bins, analyzing data and of course how to have fun while doing it!

Pinole Earth Team expressed feeling grateful for the opportunity to explore more about the waste reduction field. Oakland Tech Earth Team expressed enjoying getting to share more about their project. Both teams really enjoyed meeting each other!

Overall, Pinoles data was decent given its still brand new. The team has received Tech’s “Implementation Package” as a resource for continuing to improve their system.



Youth Conduct a Rainy Day Litter Assessment at Dimond Park

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To start of the year, interns from Oakland Tech braved the rainy weather and headed to their local park to clean up any litter before it entered our waterways.

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The group split up and covered the entire park very quickly, collecting over 500+ of litter. Students really enjoyed being back together again, and even though it was a little wet and rainy, being outside was a great way to start off the new semester.

Thanks for reading!



Youth lead 100+ Community Members in Data Collection for an Impactful MLK Day Celebration!

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To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., Oakland Tech Earth Team interns partnered with Save the Bay and over 100 community members to clean MLK Shoreline.

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Save the Bay kicked off the day by giving great insight into the area and the effects that litter has on our bay. After setting the foundation for the day, Earth Team interns gave a short presentation on citizen science, introduced the Marine Debris Tracker app, and invited community members to participate in collecting data on all the litter that was going to be collected for the day.

Our data collectors were a bit outnumbered by litter picker-uppers, but that didn’t stop them from categorizing and collecting data on over 4,760 litter items. Our interns were joined by a few high school folks from a College Prep school nearby as well as a few young participants that downloaded the app on their phone to help out with data collection.

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After the day was over, interns expressed feeling a sense of inspiration coupled with a bit of anger and disappointment. Over 1,000 lbs of litter were collected from the shoreline, to which they all agreed was WAY too much. Although the amount of litter was a bit disheartening, the number of people that showed up to give back to the Earth made for a very impactful day.

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Thank you to Save the Bay for putting on this incredible event! We love the work you do and can’t wait to join you again soon!



Introducing Ralph J. Bunche Academy’s Waste Sorting Project

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We are excited to announce our partnership with Ralph J. Bunche Academy High School. For the past few weeks, Earth Team’s Waste Experts have been working with two Earth Science classes and supporting the wonderful Ms. Greenland on bringing a hands-on project to their waste curriculum.

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Coco Gutman, Oakland Tech Alumni and Mills College Student, presented alongside Jenna, Oakland Tech Campus coordinator to deliver two interactive lessons introducing sorting systems and setting a space for discussion on how it relates to each of our every day lives. After a short presentation and a few sorting activities, Ralph J. Bunche Academy students expressed significantly more confidence in knowing how to sort and a heightened awareness of how important it is to sort trash properly.

Last week, both classes conducted a waste audit of their campus trash. Students took on leadership positions sorting through bags and collecting qualitative and quantitative data. Both audits showed that over 85% of their campus waste could be recycled or composted.

We are looking forward to continuing work with Ralph J. Bunche Academy and supporting their efforts to get a student-led sorting system on campus by February 2019.

Special thank you to Ms. Greenland for her support and genuine care for her student’s education!


Data Collection: Oakland Tech Interns Conduct their first Contamination Waste Audit

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In November, Oakland Tech Earth Team interns learned how to conduct a waste audit. To kick the day off, the team used the 3-bin dolly’s to collect waste from all around campus and bring it to the audit site location.

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Students completed a hypothesis activity where they had to come to a group agreement on how much contamination they thought would be in each bin. The discussion was very fruitful and really required the group to talk things out and reason their own opinions.

Each individual had a unique role to play in the audit, with repeaters having an extra responsibility to ensure quality control of the sorting. There were sorters, weight collectors, frequency collectors and more.

Compost Contamination = 6% | Recycling Contamination = 58%

After analyzing the data to find the results, students were surprised to see such a high level of contamination in the recycling system. The group hypothesis’s that this might have been due to the heavy rains the day prior soaking recyclable items that were originally dry and clean. Either way, it was unanimous that the sorting of the recycling bin could improve.

The team is eager to continue education on campus in an effort to keep contamination rates low!


Introducing Skyline’s Waste Sorting Project

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Skyline’s Waste Sorting Team is a collection of inspiring, hardworking seniors that are working together, with the support from Earth Team Waste Experts, to implement a sorting system on campus by June 2019. The team has been following Oakland Tech’s replication package and has found the resource to be extremely helpful.

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Skyline’s Waste Sorting Team has been meeting weekly at lunch to make progress on their project. So far, the team has been trained on how to properly sort into a 3-Bin system, has conducted an audit of their campus waste, and collaborated with custodians on how a 3-Bin system would work well at Skyline. Oakland Tech interns visited Skyline for their audit to support their efforts and lend a helping hand. The plan is to start the system in the Green Academy building and expand to the whole school within the next few years.

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Last week, our Skyline team completed a backward planning logic model where they were able to define short and long term outcomes, outputs, activities, and resources for their project. After completing the logic model, students worked together to develop an agenda for the year to ensure we stay on track.

Short-term outcomes for the year are:

1) 25% or less contamination in the new sorting system by June 2019

2) All Green Academy students receive sorting education by April 2019

3) All Green Academy classrooms have a sorting system in place by March 2019

4) All Green Academy staff and custodians complete a written agreement stating their commitment to the new sorting system on campus by March 2019.

We are so grateful to have such a hardworking team at Skyline High. Keep in the loop for future updates on the progress of the project!


Student’s Play by Play of the SWAP Kick Off Conference!

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*Student Blog*

The event started with everyone meeting at the education center. Everyone talked to people they hadn’t met before and introduced themselves to others. Everyone then sat down for a quick introduction. They briefly went over what we were going to do and what the event was about. After this, the coordinators broke everyone up into two separate groups. Some people went on a tour of the facility while others stayed in the building to watch a movie about the effects of plastic straws another waste on the Ocean. My group watched the movie. The film was well done and used substantial evidence to support its claims, while also using images to create an emotional response from the audience.

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Once the two groups came back together, they gave us a more in-depth description of the facility as well as the goals of the conference. The StopWaste keynote speaker cared a lot about everything going on and was inspiring to hear her talk about it. We split into many smaller groups and began a food preparation activity. The goal of this activity was to show us how we could waste less in the kitchen and make meals from food we would usually throw away.

The next activity was a remake of capture the flag, with the goal of teaching everyone how to better sort trash. Once we played two rounds of the game, they took us inside and gave everyone vests to walk up to the upper building. During this, they gave us a quick explanation of what the garments did and the safety precautions they provided. The walk up to the building was a lot shorter then I expected which made the rain not feel as bad.

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After this was our presentation which I think went exceptionally well. I stuttered at the beginning which surprised me because presenting is never something I’ve had a problem with. However, this barely affected the presentation, and the activity went well and got our point across.

The event was a good experience, and I am glad I got the opportunity to be a part of it.


An Eye-Opening Tour of the Davis Street Transfer Station – Student Play by Play

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*Student Blog* 

When we arrived we all gathered and put on safety vests along with goggles and hard hats. Once everyone had their safety materials on we walked over to a trash pit where trucks delivered and separated trash. We learned that the pit was separated, one side was a commercial waste while one side was a residential waste. We stud in the pit observing and learned that some of the waste that comes into the pit are things like cardboard, textiles, and although it should not be in the pit the majority of the trash was food.

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After seeing the pit we walked downstairs to go outside and saw that waste management separates their trash into different sections. We saw piles of the waste of things such as cardboard, styrofoam, and wood. Another pile consisted of things like plants, they added anything that was compostable. The last pile was the pit itself where they had commercial and residential waste.

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The next step on our tour was in the Office/control room in the middle of a building of machines. There, she explained the separation of woods, metals, and cardboard on a conveyor belt. At this Waste Management ( Davis Street Transfer Station) they recycled those materials to send them to other places, which allows people to reuse them. She took us to where they began the process of doing that; separating bigger items. There were two conveyor belts, both had shoots that were attached to their sides with a color code. There was red, green, and black. She explained to us that usually there are workers between each shoot that are taking the materials off the belt (Such diligent work, I got a lot of respect because that much be really hard). Also that there were two shifts 4am-12pm and 1pm-9pm (I could never). We went outside and we saw the different wood chips that they make.

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The tour was actually so cool. I always see these wood chips thinking they were bad because they are dyed weird colors, but she told us that they were made up of all natural dyes. 

Thank you Davis Street Transfer Station for letting us see your facility!