Reducing Waste At School

Conserve resources and save money! For one-on-one assistance to find ways to reduce and reuse at your school, contact Cher Mohring or call 946-7737.

Reduce Waste at Lunch

  • Have recess before lunch to eliminate students' desire to rush through lunch for more recess time. Playing stimulates students’ appetites and thirst, encouraging them to consume instead of wasting food.
  • Encourage students to pack a waste-free lunch: print and pass out the Waste-Free Lunch Guidelines  (print landscape and double-sided and cut in half to save paper) for students to take home to their lunch packer.

School cafeteria:

  • Use reusable trays and silverware instead of disposables.
  • Put food directly on trays instead of using disposable bowls, plates, etc.
  • Allow time before lunch for students to review the menu and decide what they want to select.
  • Set up an "offer versus serve" cafeteria, so students can choose the foods they want to eat.
  • Do a food waste audit to find out why students are not eating their lunch. 

Reduce Paper Waste

In the classroom

  • Create a paper reuse center. Set up a box where people can place paper with a blank side. Reuse this paper for calculations or drafts. Encourage students to turn in homework on the back of used paper, such as notices from school or old letterhead. Better yet, allow students to submit assignments electronically.
  • Print double-sided.
  • Use both sides of notebook pages.
  • Reduce handouts by using smartboards, whiteboards, and blackboards.
  • Buy classroom materials that are durable.

In the school building

  • Instead of using paper towels, use sponges, erasers, or reusable towels to clean.
  • Encourage students and staff to use only one paper towel to dry their hands.
  • Send newsletters and school publications via email or post notices on the school website.
  • Set double-sided printing as the default on all computers.
  • Suggest all documents use 0.75 inch margins.

Host a Rummage or Exchange Sale

Parents and the community will appreciate a school rummage sale or trade day for toys, books, and outgrown clothing, including school uniforms. Arrange to donate leftovers to a local charity.

Encourage Reusable Beverage Containers

Install water bottle refill stations, making it easy for students and staff to use reusable beverage containers.

Conduct A Waste Audit

A waste audit is a way to see what a school’s garbage is made up of so that a plan can be made for reducing, reusing, and recycling. (As a bonus, use the data collected for real-world math lessons on weight and volume, and creating graphs and charts.)

Collect, sort, and weigh the waste. The audit can be carried out prior to the implementation of a school action plan to reduce waste and repeated after the school has implemented actions to reduce waste. From the data collected, the school will be able to measure the effectiveness of the plan.

Looking for more detail on how to conduct a waste audit? Contact the District at 513-946-7737.