The Zero Waste Schools Program

About the Zero Waste Schools Program

“I was apprehensive at first. I hadn’t seen the system in action and I wasn’t sure if the students would be willing to sort. After the new bins were set up, we had adults and students standing near them to help people sort their lunchtime waste correctly. That system actually flowed really well, so much of my uncertainty was washed away.”

“Using the money we saved on our garbage bill, we were able to upgrade the infrastructure around the school. We also spent that savings on other important things we needed and avoided sending all that material to the landfill that we can actually recycle and compost. It’s truly a win-win situation. The system really does work for everyone, I’m proud that we can be an example for other schools!”

Blair Mullins
Custodian, Miller Creek Middle School
Dixie School District

The Zero Waste Schools Program helps Marin County schools implement recycling and composting programs in order to comply with mandatory state laws. Zero Waste Marin will provide each school site with indoor and outdoor recycling and compost containers, custodial carts, stickers and signage, and Green Team incentives all at no charge to the school. We can also help you facilitate a tour of Marin Sanitary Service where you can see first-hand how your materials are sorted. This program will help our county and you save valuable resources and provide lifelong lessons to our students. Zero Waste Schools Program experts will help you take the following steps to become a certified Zero Waste School:

  • Educate and train staff, teachers, parents, and students on waste reduction
  • Form and train a student “Green Team” to lead waste sorting efforts
  • Install indoor and outdoor waste stations with signage
  • Shift the culture surrounding waste at your school
  • Reduce the amount of waste your school sends to the landfill, which may save you money!

Zero Waste Schools Program (ZWSP) Action Plan & Timeline

Phase 1: Initial Meeting with Stakeholders

  • ZWSP overview, timeline, and walk through
  • Confirm advisory leaders & custodians
  • Green Team creation & recruitment

Phase 2: School Waste Audit

  • Conduct a waste assessment in the classroom, staff, and lunch room

Phase 3: Results Presentation

  • Present results & ZWSP overview to staff (during staff meeting)

Phase 4: Classroom Education

  • Individual classroom presentations (15-20 minutes) and school wide assembly

Phase 5: Stakeholder Training (concurrent with Phase 4)

  • Staff, teacher & parent (if applicable) advisor training
  • Green Team training
  • Custodial training

Phase 6: Infrastructure Roll-out

  • School-wide recycling bin system implementation
  • Lunch monitoring with Green Team
  • ZWM to observe student flow & troubleshoot concerns

Phase 7: Follow-up & School Waste Audit

  • Audit and collect data
  • Identify contamination & recovery rate
  • Implement changes (if needed) and celebrate success!

Click here to download a copy of the Zero Waste Schools Program Action Plan and Timeline Zero Waste Schools Program Action Plan and Timeline.

These schools have successfully implemented the Zero Waste Schools Program!

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