The holiday season is a joyous time as we gather with family and friends to exchange gifts and feast on all manner of sweets.  Whether we realize it or not, all of the gift wrapping, party planning, and cooking we do comes with a cost: waste.  We generate an awful lot of it this time of the year!  However, what if we were more thoughtful about the waste we create and took steps to reduce or repurpose our waste?


Schools produce a lot of waste as well, and not just in November and December.  It is costly for the schools as well as the environment.  Many schools across the country have taken steps to reduce their waste through recycling and composting initiatives.  Some schools have even aspired to reach zero-waste, an ambitious but worthy goal.  Regardless of a school’s ultimate goal, adopting recycling and composting programs have the potential to not only save money on waste hauling and transportation, but provide hands-on learning experiences for students at all grade levels.  A great win-win!


In this month’s issue of GreenNotes you will learn about some of the amazing waste reduction efforts going on in schools across the country.  From Food Share tables and waste-free parties in California to using cafeteria compost in school gardens in Charleston, South Carolina, schools are getting creative with their waste reduction programs.  You will even read about a school in Richmond, VA that has just started a composting program and on their first day saw lunchroom trash reduced by half!  This month’s newsletter also features stories about Recycle Across America’s standardized labeling system for recycling bins and its Recycling Toolkit; the fun and illuminating Trash On Your Back® Challenge; and highlights from last year’s Green Schools National Conference’s Zero Waste Solutions Summit.


Recycling and composting mean so much more than dollars saved to schools.  These simple activities show students that doing something small, like placing an aluminum can in the recycling bin and not the trash, can add up to something much bigger.  Schools are not just saving money; they are creating the environmental stewards of tomorrow.  That’s a wonderful gift any time of the year!


Until next year,