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Success Stories – Schools/School Systems

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The success stories provided on this website are for information purposes only and do not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation by EPA or the United States Government of any specific commercial products, processes, or services mentioned therein.

Dimensions of Learning Academy – Kenosha, WI

The Dimensions of Learning Academy is a Charter School of the Kenosha Unified School District in Wisconsin. The school is promoting waste reduction and the WasteWise program through hands-on learning experiences. As part of the Dimensions Green Initiative, students explored ways they could reduce, reuse, or recycle ten different materials. After learning about hazardous waste, students also elected to send unwanted computers to a nearby reclamation center instead of the local landfill. During community cleanup days, students collected solid waste materials and built Landfill Larry, a life-sized figure that will become a traveling service learning project and help spread the WasteWise message to schools in the Kenosha Unified School District.

Los Angeles Unified School District – Los Angeles, CA

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) consists of 1,072 schools and centers in the Los Angeles, California, area with approximately 700,000 students and 84,000 employees. LAUSD continually strives to improve its waste prevention and recycling activities and has won seven WasteWise awards, including six Partner of the Year awards, since joining WasteWise in May 1999. Over nine years, LAUSD reduced its waste by 467,000 tons, saving more than $21 million. The success of LAUSD’s waste reduction program has been due in large part to its innovative initiatives—such as eliminating trays in food service, which discourages students from taking extra food that goes to waste.

Also, LAUSD sells obsolete equipment and supplies at public auctions, resulting in nearly 500,000 pounds of avoided disposal and savings of more than $11,000 in 2007. In a renewed commitment to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, LAUSD recently adopted a new waste and recycling goal—to reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfills by 70 percent by 2020. To reach this goal, LAUSD is working with the City of Los Angeles, which is providing recycling containers for each school at no cost, to make the school recycling program consistent with the city’s.

LAUSD initiated several outreach programs with city and state groups including the Los Angeles Department of Public Works (DPW) and California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB). LAUSD distributed mixed paper recycling boxes with the WasteWise logo to schools and offices and 6-gallon recycling containers for classrooms. Its WasteWise promotional activities included posting the district’s WasteWise Climate Profile on LAUSD’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety Web site and meeting with staff from the City of Los Angeles and other cities, CIWMB, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, DPW, and suppliers to discuss new technologies, ideas, and programs for waste prevention and recycling.

Damascus Elementary School – Salem, OH

A WasteWise partner since 2005, Damascus Elementary School in Salem, OH, has reduced its paper use and disposal and implemented new procedures for reuse of shredded paper. By printing double-sided; reusing paper for scratch pads, art projects, and homework sheets; and using electronic correspondence, the school reduced its annual use of paper by 18,150 pounds. When the amount of shredded paper grew to be more than its vermicompost bins could hold, Damascus Elementary implemented a more effective reuse program for its shredded paper by diverting it to the township drop-off site. The paper is then made available to local farmers to use as animal bedding and to retailers for use in shipping packages, as an alternative to polystyrene peanuts.

Alden Central School – Alden, NY

Alden Central School, which educates children from kindergarten through 12th grade, implemented a comprehensive waste reduction program at all campus buildings: high school, middle school, intermediate school, and primary education buildings, and the grounds department. The school and its 250 staff members eliminated 450 pounds of polystyrene cafeteria trays and dishes by switching to reusable products. It also composted 900 pounds of cafeteria waste and 150 pounds of yard trimmings for use as mulch on building grounds.

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