The Sustainable Schools program works in conjunction with students, school leaders, staff and parent volunteers to reduce waste in the schools. Some of the endeavors include: conducting waste and recycling audits, advocating for low-waste lunches packed from home, and providing educational tips to reduce paper use.
The school lunchrooms are a key area of emphasis for waste reduction including: reducing food waste, composting or agricultural use of food waste, using reusable plates and cutlery, and utilizing recycling and upcycling containers. The program works with schools to replace single-use Styrofoam lunch trays and plastic cutlery with reusable plates and utensils.
For example, in the two elementary schools in the Steamboat Springs School District, implementing reusable plates reduced lunchroom waste by nearly 200 gallons a day, or 36,000 gallons of waste per year diverted from the landfill. This also saves on janitorial time and trash pickups. Sustainable Schools also helps to educate and provide materials for schools and event organizers to host “Zero Waste” parties and events to reduce trash.