Model School Waste Reduction Programs
The California Integrated Waste Management Board (now known as CalRecycle) in 1994 conducted a survey of K-12 schools to assess existing waste reduction efforts. Staff also used this information to select a variety of school districts throughout the state to participate in a pilot program to quantify the benefits of recycling in terms of reducing waste going to local landfills and saving schools money.
Based upon this pilot program, and other success stories, CalRecycle developed two guides to help school districts reduce waste and save money. These two resources are dated, yet the fundamental principles and process remain current. While these guides are no longer in print, they are available on-line through the CalRecycle Publications Catalog (use links below).
- Seeing Green Through Waste Prevention provides valuable insights to performing waste composition surveys, waste prevention activities, and cost analysis procedures to help set up a comprehensive waste reduction program.
- A Districtwide Approach to Recycling includes case studies that document the economic benefits of districtwide programs and detailed information on how to promote districtwide recycling.
Since that time, CalRecycle continues to collaborate with school districts to manage sustainable solid waste and recycling programs. These efforts include surveys, the School District Diversion Project, and ongoing technical assistance in coordination with local recycling coordinators. Successful programs are regularly documented and provided for education and peer matching purposes. Please see the following pages for additional examples of such programs:
WasteFreeLunches provides a number of success stories as well as an informative case study which includes tools for the various components of a waste free lunch program (e.g., goal and task sheets, communication to parents and teachers, trash audit, and education and outreach activities).
"Innovations" Case Studies
In March 2000, the Board (now CalRecycle) presented the Innovations video conference to showcase successful recycling and waste reduction programs developed by local and regional jurisdictions to achieve California's 50 percent waste diversion goals. The programs featured in the videoconference were reviewed and analyzed, and 24 studies were prepared to highlight successful model programs in reuse, recycling, composting, and other areas of waste management. These programs can be examples for other cities, counties, and regional agencies in California, as well as other states, provinces, or countries. Some of these case studies highlighted successful school recycling programs.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Solid Waste
The EPA provides information on K-12 programs involving the "service learning" concept. The "Service Learning: Beyond the Classroom" (PDF, 931 KB) booklet describes how students across the country gain hands-on awareness of waste reduction, recycling, and composting.