The King County Green Schools Program, which helps K-12 schools and school districts engage students and employees in learning about and practicing resource conservation, is recognizing eight schools this month for increasing recycling, conserving energy and water, and reducing food waste and paper use.
Schools from 35 King County cities and unincorporated areas are reducing waste, increasing recycling, conserving resources, and cutting costs with help from the King County Green Schools Program. The program provides hands-on help and the tools that schools need, such as recycling containers, signs, and guidance for school teams to make improvements.
The program has served a growing number of schools each year – from 70 schools in 2008 to 270 schools currently, which is 54 percent of all K-12 schools in King County outside the City of Seattle.
“We are pleased to recognize eight schools for their contributions toward helping us achieve our goal of a 70 percent recycling rate in King County, and for guiding their students and staff to conserve valuable natural resources,” said Pat D. McLaughlin, director of the King County Solid Waste Division.
As of March 6, of the 270 schools participating in the program:
• 242 schools have been recognized as Level One King County Green Schools for their waste reduction and recycling efforts;
• 136 schools have been recognized as Level Two Green Schools for education and actions focused on energy conservation;
• 102 schools have been recognized as Level Three schools for education and actions related to water conservation; and
• 56 schools have been recognized as Sustaining Green Schools for maintaining their levels one through three practices and adding new conservation strategies and education.
“The eight schools we’re recognizing this month expanded their sustainable practices by encouraging students and employees to reduce paper use, reduce food waste, recycle, or conserve energy and water, all of which reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change,” said Dale Alekel, Green Schools Program manager.
In addition to Green Schools Program assistance, King County offers an elementary school assembly program and classroom workshops for grades 1–12 that teach students about conservation.
Learn more by contacting Alekel at 206-477-5267 or email@example.com.
Level Three (water conservation and pollution prevention)
These schools maintained Level One and Two practices, and engaged students and employees in water conservation and pollution prevention actions.
Shorewood Elementary School in Highline School District reached a recycling rate of 66 percent. Tips about waste reduction, recycling, energy and water conservation were shared in staff bulletins, faculty meetings, and all-school announcements. Fourth grade students led a campaign to encourage reusable water bottles, second graders learned about connections between climate change and water conservation, and fourth and sixth graders learned about drinking water and watersheds. Fifth graders used water quality kits to test a local body of water for contaminants and created a display of their findings. Sixth grade students created and posted signs to encourage water conservation.
St. Bernadette Parish School in Burien continued its waste reduction and recycling practices, and received a grant to update school lighting fixtures. Green Team students wrote water conservation tips for the parent newsletter and school bulletin. "Puget Sound Starts Here" plaques were placed on school ground storm drains. The Green Team created and posted water conservation pledges. Students went on a field trip to explore the path storm water takes from their school to Puget Sound, and learned about storm water pollution and how to prevent it at home and school. Drought tolerant plants were selected and maintenance staff position sprinklers so that only lawns are watered.
Level Two (energy conservation)
These schools maintained Level One waste reduction and recycling practices, and learned about and engaged in energy conservation actions.
H.O.M.E. Program/Renton Academy in Renton School District maintained its waste reduction and recycling practices, which include collection of compostable materials and strategies to reduce paper use. The school’s Green Team established a goal of decreasing energy consumption by five percent. Energy conservation signs were posted on light switches, computers and monitors to remind staff and students to turn them off when not in use. Facts and tips about reducing energy use were shared in weekly newsletters.
Rainier Middle School in Auburn School District expanded its waste reduction and recycling practices by starting to collect compostable materials. The school set up a share container for students to place unopened, packaged school lunch foods for other students to take. Green Team students regularly shared energy conservation facts and tips. Science Links classes studied energy use and created posters about energy conservation. Science classes calculated their carbon footprints and learned how to reduce their impact. To reduce energy use, timers were installed on vending machine lights and custodians closed exterior doors, windows and blinds, and turned off lights and electronic equipment when not in use.
Level One (waste reduction and recycling)
These schools initiated or improved waste reduction and recycling practices.
Bellevue Children’s Academy increased its recycling rate to 66 percent. Waste reduction and recycling practices were encouraged through weekly e-bulletins, a monthly building meeting, and a student assembly. The school established a student Green Team of 25 students who created and posted signs detailing what can be recycled. The staff Green Team promoted sorting of recyclable and compostable materials at an after-school student club. Kindergarteners participated in a conservation unit where they learned about conservation and the environment.
Honey Dew Elementary School in Renton School District increased its recycling rate from 25 to 45 percent. The school established a student Green Team of third to fifth grade students who gave compliments in the classroom and morning announcement “shout-outs” to those successfully recycling. The school kicked off lunchroom recycling in early 2017. The Green Team hosted two events – a recycling awareness event and a school clean up day where the team picked up litter from the playground.
Skykomish School in Skykomish School District created a student Green Team of nine secondary school students who met regularly at the after-school Me to We Club. The Green Team created and displayed posters to promote waste reduction and recycling practices. King County Green Schools Program trained students to monitor cafeteria recycling stations, and those students monitored recycling stations for one month after a recycling kick-off event. To conserve paper, “good on one side” paper boxes were set up in every classroom.
Willows Preparatory School in Redmond increased its recycling rate to 53 percent. A Green Team of 15 students was created and met weekly. The Green Team created and hung posters about recycling, and made a video on how to sort compostable materials. Waste reduction and recycling policies were introduced at the start of the school year at an all-school assembly, and weekly e-bulletins included waste reduction practices.