Sustainability Always in Fashion at PDS

Princeton Day School has one of the most impactful and highly regarded sustainability programs of any school in the state. As a longtime strategic priority for PDS, climate stewardship has been infused into the School’s program, operations and community. 

Terracycling Used Dental Hygiene Products

Most recently, the School-wide initiative to introduce Terracycling has energized students from PreK through 12th Grade. The Lower, Middle and Upper school students, along with staff and faculty, have all been encouraged to bring their empty toothpaste tubes, used toothbrushes, empty floss containers, used floss, single-use flossers and used dental pic brushes to recycle, using the Terracycle program. Fifth grade students have even created an explainer video for PDS community members about the program:

For this service effort, the School has partnered with Terracycle, a Trenton-based, internationally known recycling company with a mission to “offer free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste.” Notably, Terracycle not only assists with recycling hard-to-recycle waste, but also in integrating unique materials into new products -- a process often referred to as “upcycling.”

Upcycling through Trashion!

Upcycling is the act of reusing discarded materials to create something new. While Terracycle’s goal is to “eliminate the idea of waste,” that stewardship spirit has carried through to the Sixth Grade curriculum with this fall’s Trashion Show, held on October 26. 

As Angharad Rebholz, Middle School Humanities teacher and Sixth Grade Dean, explained to the students, the rules of the Trashion show are simple: 

  • Students would be given 25 minutes to create high-fashion outfits from materials headed for the trash that were either brought in by students and faculty.

  • Each class was instructed to break up into groups, and each group received a randomly chosen theme: monsters, under the sea, outer space, zoo and red carpet.

Students raced against the clock as they fitted paper bags over their heads, tied tissue paper to their costumes and taped egg cartons to themselves. The excitement was palpable as these students worked together before presenting their creations to their teachers and peers. It was a team-building exercise that showed limitations can breed creativity, and reusing your old paper bags can turn trash into treasure—or a possible a Halloween costume for this Thursday’s student parade! 

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