California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Reuse Organization Profiles

Trash for Teaching, Inc. (T4T)

Overview

Trash for Teaching, Inc. (T4T) is an organization dedicated to inspiring children through the exploration of extraordinary materials. T4T collects clean, interesting cast-off materials from local manufacturers and takes that amazing array of beautiful materials directly to local schools to be used in conjunction with Art, Math, and Science instruction. In addition to the materials, T4T's staff provides instruction and professional development to teachers.

History

T4T was started by Steve and Kathy Stanton in May of 2004 after they became involved in utilizing recycled and found objects as creative learning tools through their son's preschool. Being manufacturers themselves and knowing the amount of waste that is generated by a factory, Steve started looking at other local factories to see what type of interesting waste they were generating. It was immediately evident that there was treasure in the trash! Steve did the math and realized that if each child in the greater Los Angeles area would used just two pounds of material, up to 500 tons of waste could be diverted from landfill annually. So was born Trash for Teaching, Inc.

With a win-win program and a great amount of luck, LAUSD's Arts Education Branch chose T4T to pilot the program in 40 schools. So in its first year T4T visited 40 schools, worked with 178 teachers, and over 3,500 children went through the truck! Plans are to continue growing and delivering T4T's materials and message of reuse!

Operations

T4T operates out of a Gardena, California warehouse that is open to the public on Wednesdays or by appointment. The main program is standards-based and curriculum driven and can be tailored to the specific needs of the grade being served. Materials arrive accompanied by the T4T Arts Facilitator. The facilitator brings another important component of the program by providing instruction and staff development specific to the use of recycled materials as needed.

T4T is very proud to partner with other non-profits and community organizations such as the Natural History Museum and local Preschools.

Materials Accepted Source of Materials Collection Services Geographic
Service Area

T4T creates partnerships with industries and businesses in the Greater Los Angeles area, allowing them to participate in community environmental education through the donation of their abundant cast-off materials, irregulars, excess, imperfects, and any other interesting by-products of their manufacturing process. Some examples of the 100 plus items are: cores, spools, and cones from knitters, giant cardboard tubes, petri dishes and specimen jars from a medical supply manufacturer, fabric from sewing houses, paper from printers, wire, plastic color chips, wood pieces from a shutter maker, plastic pen parts from a pen maker, etc.

T4T would like to take anything that is readily available, safe and non-toxic, clean, colorful, and interesting. Before T4T accepts materials they will visit donors to make sure that their donation can meet any or all of these specifications and then set up a convenient pick up schedule.

Manufacturers make up the majority of T4T's donors. Most of the materials are manufacturing cast-offs, irregulars, excesses, imperfects, and any other interesting by-products of the manufacturing process. Some examples include: cores, spools, and cones from knitters, giant cardboard tubes, petri dishes and specimen jars from a medical supply manufacturer, fabric from sewing houses, paper from printers, wire, plastic color chips, wood pieces from a shutter maker, plastic pen parts from a pen maker, etc. T4T works with the donor to schedule a convenient pick up time that will not interfere with their operations. T4T will gladly accept delivery of approved donations, if any donor has the time and/or capability. T4T is in Gardena and currently receives most of their materials from the LAX area, South Bay, and Dominguez Hills. T4T will be glad to travel a bit further to acquire new and interesting materials.

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Last updated: May 23, 2014
Reuse, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Reuse/
LAMD@calrecycle.ca.gov, (916) 341-6199