California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

School Diversion and Environmental Education Law (DEEL)

Highlights of the School DEEL

School DEEL Mandates

In September 2001, the Governor signed into law the School Diversion and Environmental Education Law (DEEL).  The School DEEL created the following program mandates for the California Integrated Waste Management Board's (Board) Office of Education and the Environment and Office of Local Assistance:

  • Mandates the California Board of Education, through the California Education Code, to incorporate environmental concepts into the California State Science Framework.
  • Creates an environmental ambassador pilot program to identify and recognize schools or districts that have programs or projects that facilitate the utilization of environmental education as a means to environmental action.
  • Requires the Board's Office of Education and the Environment, California Department of Education, State Board of Education, and Secretary of Education to develop and implement a unified education strategy on the environment for K-12 schools.
  • Establishes a grant program ($1.5 million) for county offices of education, school districts, and schools to promote programs that incorporate concepts of integrated waste management into teaching, on-site waste reduction practices, and adoption of the unified education strategy.
  • Encourages school districts to coordinate with local government to implement solid waste management programs to maximize the diversion of solid waste from landfill disposal or transformation facilities.

In the News...

The School DEEL has received the following press coverage:

  • New State Law Promotes School Recycling and Better K-12 Environmental Education: Sen. Torlakson, CalEPA honor Concord High's recycling efforts. Press release from the Board highlights the April 19, 2002, event that recognized Concord High School's Academy program for its student-run recycling project. View photos from this event.

Summary of the School DEEL Mandates

The following elements are mandates found in the School DEEL:

California Science Frameworks. Mandates the State Board of Education through the California Education Code to incorporate environmental concepts into the California Science Frameworks.

Office Established. The Board's Office of Education and the Environment was formally codified in legislation.

Environmental Ambassador Pilot Program. Requires that the Board's Office of Education and the Environment establish an environmental ambassador pilot program to facilitate the utilization of environmental education as a means to environmental action. Includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Sustainable school programs using a systems approach.
  • Coordinated instruction with on-site action programs.
  • Service learning partnerships.
  • Assessment of the impact of these programs on student achievement and resources conservation.

Unified Education Strategy. Requires the Office of Education and the Environment, in cooperation with the California Department of Education (CDE), State Board of Education (SBE), and the Office of Secretary of Education (OSE), to develop and implement a unified education strategy on the environment for K-12 schools. The strategy will do all of the following:

  • Coordinate instructional resources and strategies for providing active pupil participation with on-site conservation.
  • Promote service learning.
  • Assess the impact to participating students on both achievement and resource conservation.

Teacher Training and Implementation Plan. Requires the CDE, SBE, and the OSE, in cooperation with the Office of Education and the Environment, to develop and implement a teacher training and implementation plan. This plan will guide the implementation of the unified education strategy, for the education of students, faculty, and administrators, on the importance of integrating environmental concepts and programs in schools.

School Waste Reduction Tools. Requires the development of school waste reduction tools for use by school districts and calls for the Board to provide training and ongoing technical and informational assistance to local agencies, county offices of education, school districts, and schools on implementing waste reduction programs.

Materials/Products Listings. Requires the Division of State Architect, in consultation with the Board, to develop and maintain on its Web site a list of recycled materials and a list of environmentally preferable products that may be used in the construction and modernization of public school facilities.

Assistance Grants. Requires the Office of Education and the Environment, in consultation with CDE, SBE, and OSE, to provide grants to school districts and schools to assist in the development and implementation of education programs and to promote the use of existing educational programs to teach the concepts of integrated waste management. Grant criteria will include the extent to which an office, school district, or school has demonstrated a commitment to achieving the following:

  • The adoption of waste prevention and recycling programs and practices.
  • The adoption and implementation of the unified education strategy.
  • The allocation of adequate space for the safe collection, storage, and loading of recyclable materials.
  • To the maximum extent feasible, the use of recycled materials and environmentally preferable products in the construction or modernization of public school facilities.
  • Participation in the environmental ambassador pilot program.

School Waste Reduction Evaluations. By January 1, 2004, the Board must evaluate implementation of school waste reduction programs in the state. If the Board determines that less than 75 percent of schools have implemented a waste reduction and recycling program, the Board must recommend to the Legislature those statutory changes needed to require schools to implement such a program.

Do you have additional questions about the School DEEL? Check our list of frequently asked questions.

Last updated: December 27, 2004
Office of Education and the Environment http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Education/
Contact: EEI@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6769