More than Just P&J for Students To Chew On

Looking for something to read during your lunch break? Try The Landfill Lunch Box, a new book that encourages children (and adults) to create eco-friendly art projects that reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.

Published by the city of Cathedral City, Calif., and the Student Creative Recycle Art Program (S.C.R.A.P.) Gallery in April 2001, the Lunch Box is another project developed to promote recycling and environmental education. The city and the S.C.R.A.P. gallery consistently work together to promote waste reduction activities in accordance with the state's AB 939, which requires cities and counties to reduce their landfill waste rates by 50 percent from their 1990 levels.

Author Karen Riley, also the S.C.R.A.P. gallery's executive director, says she created the 32-page book to bring the gallery's innovative projects into classrooms so that teachers could “incorporate recycling and environmental education throughout their curriculum.”

“Besides art and recycling,” Riley says, “students can refer to different sections to find information on topics” such as composting, source reduction and sustainable development. Art projects are designed for children of all ages and can be created from household trash and other materials that otherwise would have been thrown away.

For instance, some inventions include making ornaments from used compact discs (CDs), birds' nests from yard trimmings, pins from puzzle pieces and old buttons, and frames from old wallpaper clippings. On each page in the book, there are facts and figures about landfills, recycling and places to pick up “art supplies,” such as print shops, neighborhood wallpaper stores and computer centers.

Although the book primarily is designed for children, the Landfill Lunch Box also has useful information for adults and other people interested in waste-related issues.

Riley references several local and national information resources, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington, D.C., and the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), Sacramento, which is in charge of enforcing AB 939.

The book is available for free to teachers and can be found on and for $12.