Meet Rusty, our newest Zero Waste advocate! Join him on a journey to discover where all of our stuff comes from and where it all goes after we throw it away.



Unit 1 - Rusty Travels the World

Targeting the 3rd grade, this standards-aligned lesson follows Rusty as he explores different regions, biomes, ecosystems, landmarks, and countries around the world. During the lesson, Rusty and students encounter, learn about, and work together toward solving waste-related environmental issues.

Watch the short introductory video and then use the provided lesson plan and worksheets.


          Rusty Lesson Plastics & The Ocean

          Read-Aloud Letter from Rusty

          Rusty Postcard

          Slideshow Rustygram (PPT), (PDF)

          Station Guide

          Group Handout Fish Friend Fish Foe


Unit 2 - Rusty Goes on a Field Trip

Targeting the 4th grade, this standards-aligned lesson follows Rusty as he explores various locations, neighborhoods, and landmarks in and around New York City. Rusty and students learn about New York City’s rich history, its connections to waste and environmentalism, as well as current issues and contemporary solutions.

Rusty Field Trip from GrowNYC's Recycling Champions on Vimeo.


          Rusty Lesson Inwood Hill Park

          Slideshow Inwood Hill Park (PPT, PDF)

          Venn Diagram Worksheet

          NYC Then & Now Worksheet

          Archeology Worksheet



Unit 3 - Landfill Vs. Compost / Rusty’s Race to Decomposition

Targeting the 5th grade, this series of standards-aligned lessons employs Rusty as the official of a “race to decomposition” between two pieces of food. One goes to the trash bin and the other to the organics bin as students follow these foods along their divergent and microscopic paths. In the end, students learn how this understanding can guide their everyday decisions about what to do with food waste.


          Rusty Lesson Race to Away

          Activity Rusty Madlib Fun

          Worksheet Rusty's Rot Race




Join us for GrowNYC Eco Hour: Back to the Farm on Monday, September 11 at Project Farmhouse for drinks, local snacks, a live DJ and green conversation.⁠

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  • Recycle

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  • Garden

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