Outreach and Special Programs

In addition to our regular school year program offerings, the District and its Education Team are a resource for your special program requests!  We are happy to speak to your group or organization about our zero-waste mission for Lake County.  We also host special teacher events and workshops or can make an appearance at yours!  And the Enviromobile and the Environmental Education Center provide special programming through the summer months as well!




For 2017 Registered Groups:

Be sure to call (219) 853-2420 to report your caps weight by 3 pm on October 31st.  

Also, check your email (or the email you provided at registration) for important updates about CAP-A-THON 5!

Lake County, IN schools and community groups can earn a bench made from their recycled plastic caps! Register for CAP-A-THON 5 where LCSWMD will once again partner with Evansville, IN-based GreenTree Plastics to turn your #2, #4 and #5 plastic caps and lids into heavy-duty benches and picnic tables!

Register for CAP-A-THON 5 by Friday, September 8, 2017. Collect 400lbs of plastic caps and lids before the cut-off date October 31st and the District will sponsor the cost of a bench MADE from those caps! Limit of 1 bench per group, this special program is open to Lake County public and private schools, scout groups, municipalities and organizations interested in innovative recycling!

The District sponsors ONLY the 6’ Denali bench in green/black (see photo). You will receive the contest rules & guidelines via the email you provide upon registration. You and your group are responsible for promoting, collecting, weighing AND storing your caps.

Guidelines for participation have been updated and all registration must take place in person at LCSWMD’s Main Office located at the

Environmental Education Center
2405 Calumet Avenue
Hammond, IN 46320

by September 8, 2017. Each team is eligible to earn ONE bench and should collect NO MORE THAN 400lbs. of acceptable plastic caps.

  1. Registration opens August 28th and closes 3pm on September 8, 2017 (Registration is now closed)
  2. For registered groups:  Collect caps through October 31st, 2017
  3. Once you have collected 400lbs of acceptable caps, notify LCSWMD (by November 3, 2017)
  4. Cap drop off will take place November 9th (by appointment at the District's Compost Facility located at 3499 Chase St., Gary, IN)
  5. Bench pick up will take place November 13th (by appointment at the District's Compost Facility located at 3499 Chase St., Gary, IN)


After 4 years of this program, nearly 50,000 POUNDS of caps have been collected & recycled by our Lake County groups to date and you can find these benches and picnic tables adorning buildings and green spaces throughout the county!


These #2, #4 and #5 plastic caps and lids ARE recyclable through your local programs but recycling efforts, through this caps-to-benches program, have been astronomical and we would like to continue to motivate our communities to re-think waste!

Trout In The Classroom (TIC)

The 2018-2019 school year marks the 11th anniversary of TIC! Our clean water trout in the classroom program will continue as a traveling program! Each school year we will select a new school to host our 39-gallon fish tank and raise Rainbow Trout from egg to fry!

Beginning August 2018, you can click here to fill out an application to become a host school or classroom!  LCSWMD educators provide tank set up and troubleshooting, student training & hands-on programming along with other resources while you care for the tank and young Rainbow Trout from September through May. 

YOU create your classroom’s / school’s unique experience. The Lake County Solid Waste Management District sponsors the program and provides the tank supplies, fish eggs, educational and technical support.

Enviro-Teacher Advisory Council

The Lake County Solid Waste Management District Education Team seeks new members for the Enviro-Teacher Advisory Council, ETAC. This group, founded in 2006, is comprised of environmentally-minded representatives from Lake County, IN schools and community groups who keep our Education Team apprised of the latest trends in education and community greening efforts.

In 2006 the District created the Enviro-Teacher Advisory Council (ETAC), a group of teachers dedicated to incorporating environmental education not only in their classroom curriculum but are also passionate about greening their schools. The ETAC and District educators meet annually to discuss current trends in education and how to continue to meet changing standards with hands-on environmental and zero-waste activities. "With the mandatory 90-minute reading block, we have no time to waste!" The District provides programs at no cost to schools that are relevant and standard-worthy. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to continue to invite them into our schools", stated Bea Cak, 2nd grade teacher at Jane Ball Elementary (now retired) and founding member of the ETAC. "For fifteen years running, I have invited the Enviromobile into my classroom, taken field trips to the Environmental Education Center in Hammond. We also have an annual Environmental Day at Lemon Lake with the District educators".

George Grogloth, teacher at Merrillville’s John Wood Elementary, describes the programs as "excellent." He goes on to say, "students enjoy and learn a lot about the environment. The students WANT to recycle, not just at home, but they want to be proud of what their school is doing to help the environment too. Lake County Solid Waste helped bring the ABITIBI paper 2

recycling program to John Wood and most of the county’s schools. Students actually bring their newspapers to class and we weigh them each week"! Both schools were also the first to pilot our Trout in the Classroom, clean water management program.

We seek your input in ensuring our programming continues to be relevant for schools and communities and to meet and complement your curricular needs. Interested in joining our advisory group?

We are currently expanding & looking for:

*teachers - 5th grade through high school

*informal/non-traditional educators

*homeschool representatives

*local college & university students

Bella Webb Award

The Lake County Solid Waste Management District is seeking GREEN leaders from your Lake County school or community for the Bella Webb Award for the Environment.

Do you or someone you know inspire others to "think green” or encourage others to join the journey to zero-waste? Nominate someone or nominate yourself! It's simple. Submit your nomination by faxing a letter to (219) 853-2424.

The award is named for the late Bella Webb. She was a dedicated teacher at Elliott Elementary School in Munster and an advocate for the environment. She was one of the first supporters of the District's environmental education programs and was truly "green". 

Wondering who our latest winner was?


WINNER! Bella Webb Award for the Environment
Melissa Dillard, 1st grade teacher
Protsman Elementary, Dyer

and THANKS to her amazing school team, Chairman Herzog and Councilwoman Tanis, the Green Team was able to surprise her with our award!

Mrs. Dillard is the 7th recipient of Lake County Solid Waste Management’s Bella Webb Award for the Environment. She was also awarded a $500 classroom grant.



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