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Waste Reduction and Recycling

Waste Reduction & Recycling

Waste reduction and recycling are the focus of Level One of the King County Green Schools Program. After each school or school district completes the Level One criteria, recognition is awarded. For a description of the program, visit How it Works. Both waste reduction and recycling are important. By rethinking, reducing, reusing and recycling the products it uses, schools can reduce the following:

  • Depletion of natural resources, such as trees, energy, water, metals and oil, which are used to make new products;
  • Pollution caused by the mining, manufacture, transportation and disposal of products;
  • Landfill gas emissions; and
  • Garbage disposal costs.

Nearly all of the garbage generated by schools can be reduced, reused, recycled and composted. A waste composition study of Los Angeles schools found that a typical school's waste was comprised of:

  • 47 percent paper
  • 32 percent organic waste (food scraps, food soiled paper)
  • 12 percent plastic bottles
  • 4 percent aluminum cans
  • 2 percent glass bottles
  • 2 percent construction debris
  • 1 percent hazardous wastes including batteries, electronics, fluorescent tubes and bulbs

For ideas on how to reduce waste, maintain an effective recycling program and teach students about waste reduction and recycling practices, see the Level One criteria checklist. There is one checklist for schools and another for school districts.

Criteria and resources

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Updated: Sep. 11, 2013


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