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School Savings

Did you know...?

...disposable lunches result in higher waste disposal fees for California schools?

Some districts, however, have been able to greatly reduce their costs through the implementation of waste reduction programs. Here's what some California schools are doing:

Has your school implemented a waste reduction program that has saved money? We'd love to post your story here. Email us at info@wastefreelunches.org.

Downey Unified School District in Los Angeles County reduced the amount of trash it sends to the landfill by 65 percent by implementing recycling and composting programs. They cut the district's annual trash bill of $100,000 in half, saving $200,000 over a four year period.

Berkeley Unified School District in Alameda County increased recycling during the past school year. Four Berkeley schools were able to decrease their garbage pickups, saving between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars. The district obtained recycling bins for aluminum and cardboard lunch trays, glass bottles and aluminum cans, and mixed paper.

La Mesa-Spring Valley School District in San Diego County saved a net $116,557 dollars from recycling at 23 school sites and administrative and operations centers. The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District's Project Divert (District Involvement Via Everyone Recycling Trash) educates students, staff, and parents on the topics of environmental awareness and responsibility and promotes reducing, reusing and recycling.

Weaver School District in Merced County reduced its waste disposal costs by implementing a comprehensive district-wide recycling program. All K-8 students take part in recycling and learn about its economic and environmental importance. A recycling company collects reusable paper waste from the district, furnishes them with containers, and pays the district any revenues that exceed the company's costs. Through this arrangement, the district reduced its collection fees by approximately $500 dollars per month.

These descriptions were provided by the California Integrated Waste Management Board at http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Schools/WasteReduce/Models/Districts.htm.

The Davis Joint Unified School District in Davis, California is on its way to cutting waste removal costs by 50% for the 2003-04 school year. The originial cost per student (across 9 elementary schools) was, on average, about $4 per student. With the implementation of the"RISE" program in December 2003, waste removal fees dropped to about $2.50 per student.

The program this year focused on recycling #1 and #2 products, plastics and cardboard salad bar trays, and diverting fruits and vegetables to the compost pile. They hope to further reduce their costs by getting families to pack waste-free lunches. Cost savings can be found at www.davisrise.org/data/1999-2004%20Interim%20Waste%20Disposal%20Costs(1).pdf.