California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Frequently Asked Questions

The recent passage of the School Diversion and Environmental Education Law (DEEL), formerly referred to as Senate Bill 373 (Torlakson, Chapter 926, Statutes of 2001) included the creation of a new office within the California Integrated Waste Management Board, which is under the umbrella of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). This office is unique in that its purpose is to oversee education policies and programs both within the Board and between all of the boards, departments, and offices under CalEPA. The office is charged with carrying out the statutes found in the Public Resources Code Section 42603. We do this by providing standards-based curriculum materials for grades K-12 to California's educators through no-cost workshops, and by attending conferences to promote our materials and services.

Does the School DEEL mandate recycling by schools or school districts?

No, the School DEEL does not prescribe mandatory recycling. However, the School DEEL supports voluntary programs being implemented and existing programs expanded through strategic objectives, including working with local government agencies. In January 2004, if the Board determines that less than 75 percent of schools have implemented a waste reduction program, the Board shall recommend to the Legislature those statutory changes needed to require schools to implement such a program.

When will the Unified Education Strategy (UES) grant funds be available?

It is anticipated that the Board will make a notice of funding availability for the UES grant program in December 2002.

What type of projects will be funded and in what dollar amounts?

The Board will look at funding projects that embrace the philosophical and practical approaches woven into the Unified Education Strategy

The funding will be distributed over a two cycle timeframe. The first cycle is for fiscal year 2002/03 and grant awards will occur in June 2003. The second cycle of funding will be made available in fiscal year 2003/04, with grants awarded in June 2004. The same group of grantees from cycle one will be awarded cycle two funding, if the implementation plans that they create during cycle one meet the Board's satisfaction.

Who is eligible to apply for the Unified Education Strategy grants?

School districts with schools having 6th grade classes are the target applicants. Because the UES has a sixth grade focus, it is important that the applicant be able to adopt the strategy and incorporate it into their campus and classroom practices. Private schools are not eligible for this grant program.

Does including environmental concepts into the California Science Frameworks make it mandatory for schools to teach environmental education?

No, the frameworks are guidelines for educators that suggest how one might approach certain concepts. The California Content Standards tell educators what they must cover for each grade level and subject area. 

Are there any materials or tools available for school districts that need information on waste prevention and recycling programs?

The Board has developed new resources for school district waste reduction, now available on our Web site. These pages contain helpful information on programs that can be implemented to reduce the solid waste generated in all areas of a school district (classrooms, grounds, offices, food service area, etc.). Additionally, the Board has a variety of publications on integrated waste management, some designed especially for school districts. The Board's Office of Local Assistance also continues to offer assistance to local jurisdictions and school districts on issues surrounding solid waste management, specifically the establishment of waste reduction programs. 

Other parts of the Board's web site that might also be helpful include:

Do you have a new question that you would like us to respond to? If you wish to contact us please email the Office of Education & the Environment at All questions will be answered, though they may not appear on this page.

Last updated: March 12, 2014
Office of Education and the Environment
Contact: (916) 341-6769