Waste reduction and recycling
Waste reduction and recycling are the focus of Level One of the King County Green Schools Program. Recognition is awarded after each school or school district meets criteria in the Level One Best Practices Guide. See How it works for more information about the program.
Both waste reduction and recycling are important. By rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling the products it uses, schools can reduce the following:
- Depletion of natural resources, such as trees, energy, water, metals, and oil, which are used to make new products.
- Pollution caused by the mining, manufacture, transportation, and disposal of products.
- Landfill gas emissions.
- Garbage disposal costs.
Nearly all solid waste generated by schools can be reduced, reused, recycled, and composted. A waste composition study of Los Angeles schools found a typical school's waste was comprised of
- 47 percent paper.
- 32 percent organic waste (food scraps, food soiled paper).
- 12 percent plastic bottles.
- 4 percent aluminum cans.
- 2 percent glass bottles.
- 2 percent construction debris.
- 1 percent hazardous wastes including batteries, electronics, fluorescent tubes and bulbs.
For ideas on how to reduce waste, maintain an effective recycling program, and teach students about waste reduction and recycling, see the Level One Best Practices Guide. There is one guide for schools and another for school districts.
- Level One - Waste Reduction and Recycling - Best Practices Guide for Schools Download MS Word document , 450 K
- Level One - Waste Reduction and Recycling - School District Criteria Download MS Word document , 100 K
- Waste reduction toolkit
- Reducing food waste in schools
- Waste reduction resources
- Recycling toolkit
- Recycling resources