Reducing Waste at School

Hooray! WLSSD applauds the efforts of local schools and universities to reduce waste. It’s an important effort that requires the dedication of administrators, staff and students alike. Schools can save money, build community, and help the environment. Contact us  about working together to build a plan for your school.

Waste Reduction Priorities


Recycling in schools has its own set of unique challenges, but recycling remains at the core of waste reduction.  Successfully recycling the basics can lead to expanded opportunities to recycle other things while building confidence, commitment, and a knowledgeable team.

Food Waste Organics Recovery

When recycling is second nature at school, many schools opt to go the next step, incorporating food waste recycling into the cafeteria routine.

Our Strategy

WLSSD typically works with up to ten schools annually. Schools may be public, private, parochial, or charter; each school has its own culture, facilities, style, and available resources.  WLSSD staff can assist schools to:

  • Develop a Green Team. Schools are more likely to reduce waste when a team is assembled that includes administrators, staff (interested teachers, specialists, and support staff such as custodians and kitchen workers), parents, and students. WLSSD can help identify potential members and provide guidance for setting meeting agendas and waste reduction goals.
  • Assess the current situation. The Green Team will first assess current efforts at school and the types and volumes of waste materials that are generated. A full or partial waste audit may be appropriate, or a discussion with custodial staff may provide all the information needed.
  • Look for gaps or areas for improvement. The Green Team will analyze the results of the assessment and choose next steps. Strategies may include enhancing collection systems, classroom education, or more. Successful schools develop plans that are unique to their students and spaces!

Key Resources

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency School Waste Reduction

US EPA School Waste Toolkit

WLSSD’s Teacher Resources