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Waste reduction

Waste reduction means decreasing the amount of materials needed in the first place so that volumes of garbage and recyclable materials are reduced.

The resources below will help your school set up waste reduction and reuse practices.

School wide – reduce waste at the end of the school year

  • Organize and hold a Zero Waste locker or cubby clean out, and then a School Swap DayDownload PDF 23 K to facilitate reuse and recycling at the end of the school year.

Lunchroom/cafeteria, kitchen, and break room

  • Encourage students and staff to bring lunches in durable containers. See waste free lunches external link for tips on waste free lunches.
  • If your school uses disposable polystyrene lunch traysDownload PDF 48 K, consider using durable or compostable lunch trays.
  • At lunchtime, set up a share bin into which students may place the following items from the school lunch program for other students to take: Unopened, packaged foods/drinks and uneaten whole fruits with inedible peels such as oranges and bananas. Visit Reducing food waste in schools. Ask King County Green Schools Program for assistance, bins, and signs.
  • Donate unopened, packaged foods/drinks and uneaten whole fruits from the school lunch program. See Reducing food waste in schools for more information.
  • Watch a short video created by Crystal Springs Elementary School (Northshore School District) on how to prevent waste external link .


  • Use foam soap and foam soap dispensersDownload PDF 80 K
  • If Cedar Grove Composting, Inc. picks up compostable materials from your school, consider collecting paper towels to be composted. Cedar Grove requires a separate signed bin for paper towels, close monitoring of items placed in the paper towel bins, and an agreement signed by your school custodian who will monitor the paper towel bins. Ask for more information from the King County Green Schools Program.

Landscaping and grounds

  • Compost leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste.
  • Leave grass clippings in place to provide nutrients to the lawn
Contact Us

 Call: 206-477-4466

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-0197

King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal