In Schools

A lot of waste happens in schools, but there are also many opportunities to change that. We can make system changes by setting up waste/recycle stations in each classroom, implementing composting practices, and reducing food waste in the cafeteria. We can also take time to educate kids on our current waste systems, and come up with ways to improve upon it for the future!

Here are our top 5 tips about how to reduce waste in schools:

1. Become an Oregon Green School

Oregon Green School is dedicated to energizing and engaging students through student-driven activities that advance their understanding and ownership of sustainability.

Oregon Green Schools is helping with:

  • Hands-on assistance
  • Curriculum and funding resources
  • Recognition and events

2. Create a waste station in your classroom

Here are 4 important things to keep in mind when setting up a waste station:

  1. You should have a recycling bin next to every trash bin
  2. Make sure you have clear and copious signage
  3. It’s a good idea to color-code your trash/recycling cans Blue=recycling, Black=trash
  4. Have a class meeting about what is and isn’t recyclable to prevent contamination

Download helpful signage for your school on our Signage page!

3. Start a Green Team in your school

The Environmental Center empowers young environmental stewards by helping to form and support Green Teams in their schools. We train parent and community mentors, then pair them with interested teachers to lead the teams. Most Green Teams work toward Oregon Green School Certification, while others make a difference using their own format.

If you are interested in setting up a Green Team at your school or becoming a certified Oregon Green School, please contact

4. Encourage your school to set up commercial composting in the cafeteria

Learn more about how the Bend-La Pine School District is expanding their composting program!

5. Schedule an EarthSmart classroom visit

EarthSmart is a program for 4th and 5th graders in Deschutes and Jefferson Counties that teaches about sustainability practices and ends with a field trip to the landfill. Learn more about EarthSmart here!