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 composting and recycling programs in order to comply with new mandatory state laws. ZWM 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 the Marin Sanitary Service where you can see first-hand how your materials are sorted. This will help our county 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
  • Confirm advisory leaders & custodians
  • Identify existing environmental clubs
  • Green Team creation & recruitment
  • Letter to parents mailer
  • School site walk through to assess existing waste & recycling services, infrastructure, & procedures

Phase 2: School Waste Audit

  • Pre-meeting with custodial staff to set up number/types of bins to audit
  • Collect data from one 24-hour period or specific locations determined by walk through

Phase 3: Results Presentation

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

Phase 4: Classroom Education

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

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 ZW Goalies
  • ZWM to observe student flow & troubleshoot
  • Observe waste collection to ensure recommended service changes are accurate

Phase 7: Follow-up & School Waste Audit

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