Zero Waste Schools Toolkit


2 sets of sorted bins

Find all sorts of resources here for moving your school along a path to zero waste. Here is an outline of the resources (scroll down to view):

  • Zero Waste School guides
  • Sorting signs
  • Sorting stations 
  • Waste audits
  • Recycling at school 
  • Composting at school 
  • Finding products
  • Food recovery
  • Reducing waste at its source
  • Education resources: curricula, activities
  • Case Studies
  • Presentations

 

 

Zero Waste School guides

 
 
 
 
 

 

Sorting signs

  • Signs for lunchroom recycling in CPS This set of signs is designed for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) that would like to recycle in the lunchroom. It includes two options for the type of container to use for collecting liquids. This set includes an optional sign for plate-stacking. Stacking plates will greatly reduce the volume of landfill as well as the number of times the custodian needs to change the landfill bags. Note: The cardboard plates used in CPS are compostable in commercial composting facilities. Unless your school has commercial composting service, the plates should be added to the Landfill bin.

Sorting signs without compost

 
  • Signs for lunchroom recycling and commercial composting in CPS : This set of signs is designed for CPS schools with commercial composting service. It includes two options for the type of container to use for collecting liquids. This set includes a sign for plate-stacking. Stacking plates significantly reduces the volume they take up, as well as the number of times the custodian needs to change the landfill bags. Note: The cardboard plates used in CPS are compostable in commercial composting facilities. If your school has commercial composting service, the stacked plates can be added to the Compost bin at the end of each lunch period. If your school does not have commercial composting service, the plates should be added to the Landfill bin.

Sorting line  

  

classroom recycling sign

 
 
 
  • Sign attachment method: A best practice for sign placement is to attach signs directly above the sorting bins. If your sorting bins are against a wall, then they can easily be taped to the wall. But if the bins need to be located away from walls, here is a low-cost method for attaching them. The only materials needed are small hand clamps (available at hardware stores for about $1 each) and rulers or wood shims (also available at hardware stores).

Sorting Sign Attachment MethodSorting Sign Attachment Method 2  

 

Sorting Stations

 
 
 
 

 

Waste audits

 
 
 

 

Recycling at school

 
 
 
 
 

Composting at school

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Finding Products

 

Food recovery

 
 
 
 
 

Reducing waste at its source

 
 
 
  • Use condiment dispensers instead of single-use condiment packets
 
  • Switch to washable utensils or lunch trays
 
  • Switch to recyclable or compostable packaging or service ware
 
 

Education: curricula & activities

Curricula

  • ZWCover 360466Don’t Throw Me Away: A Zero Waste Curriculum by Seven Generations Ahead -- Click HERE to request a FREE electronic copy
 
 

Activities and field trips

Infographics library

 
 
  • Share Tables: An effective way to enhance student food conservation & reduce food waste in K-12 programs. 

 

Case Studies 

 
  • Evanston/Skokie School District 65: This case study focuses on how D65 has made huge strides towards becoming zero waste after years of hard work and determination. Thanks to dedicated parents, students, and staff, and key support at the district level, D65 is significantly reducing waste in two ways -- sourcing compostable lunch trays and composting food scraps.
 

 

Presentations