Waste Reduction Strategies for Each Department within a School District

The “3 Rs” (Reduce-Reuse-Recycle) represent a resource conservation philosophy promoting a reduction in solid waste generation through changes in the manner in which materials are purchased, used, and discarded. This type of environmental stewardship can easily be integrated into a school district’s business and educational culture to conserve resources, reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and to save money. A successful school district waste reduction program depends on the coordination of administration, management, faculty, staff, students, and parents.

The following pages provide specific strategies that can be implemented within each program area of a school district, and, as a result, can be incorporated into the school district’s daily operations. These strategies can also serve as the basis for developing administrative procedures for each district department to support a related district-wide waste reduction policy. Many of these strategies have been implemented by the pilot school districts in the School District Diversion Project.

District Administration: Suggestions on how to provide administrative direction and support through districtwide integrated waste management policy and administrative procedures.

Business Services: Information regarding contracting for integrated waste management services, including recycling and composting.

Facilities and Planning: Excellent resources regarding greening school district building projects, including the recycling of construction and demolition wastes. (Note: This information is part of CalRecycle’s Sustainable Green “Building” site.)

Child Nutrition/School Cafeteria: Waste reduction ideas for the cafeteria and kitchen, including “Offer Versus Serve,” food donations, recycling, composting, school gardens, and more.

Maintenance and Operations: Waste reduction suggestions for the custodial, grounds, and maintenance operations.

Personnel: Ideas for incorporating waste reduction program goals into duty statements and employee evaluations.

Purchasing: Tips on how to purchase for waste reduction and how to buy recycled and other environmentally preferable products.

Technology Services: CalRecycle’s Electronic Product Management site provides information and resources regarding reuse, recycling, and proper disposal of old computer equipment or other electronic devices.

Additionally, encourage students and teachers to gear up for each new school year with CalRecycle’s back-to-school waste prevention ideas.

For more information contact: Schools Program, schools@calrecycle.ca.gov.