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Leading School Districts Toward Zero Waste

Solana Center volunteer with waste sorting station.[/caption] Solana Center educators have been back to school! Our education team is working with a number of school districts to address new state organics recycling laws and provide waste reduction and prevention education for students and staff. Solana Center applies a closed loop approach by reducing waste, recycling, and reusing recovered resources.

This is achieved through waste assessments, lunch waste sorting education, and providing waste management strategies, including traditional composting and vermicomposting. Educators taught students and staff in the Poway Unified School District (PUSD), how to turn waste to wealth by introducing lunch sorting and vermicomposting.

“The kids loved Diane's presentation so much! Our Custodians are 100% on board with our program, which is so terrific,” said Nicole Moore of Monterey Ridge Elementary School.

At Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD), we developed and implemented waste prevention and reduction programs at nine elementary schools and educated a total 5,195 students. We conducted a pre-waste audit before the school lunch sorting assemblies and a post-waste audit to see how well the students did.

"I learned a lot from your assembly," said a Calavera Hills Elementary office staff member.

At Encinitas Union School District (EUSD), we recently conducted a waste assessment of the District’s central kitchen. Food scraps from the kitchen will be transported to the District’s certified organic farm, known as the Farm Lab. There, composting bins, built and installed by Solana Center staff, will be composting kitchen scraps and farm vegetative material. We also led lunch-time SCRAP cart sorting and introduced vermicomposting and worm science learning activities for students. Our partnership with EUSD also includes participating in the District’s Green Team, a support group to discuss and implement methods for incorporating sustainable practices in schools district-wide. We are also working with the San Ysidro School District in the City of San Diego, to provide a waste assessment for their central kitchen, assemblies, lunch sorting, and strategies for recycling waste in partnership with the local waste hauler and composting operations. The students have been very receptive! Some quotes from students include:

"This is fun!" "I love recycling!" "I get it! You match the pictures and then put your things in!" "Can I keep this bottle for an art project?" "I'm going to make my own [sorting station] at home with boxes!"

For information about our school programs and how we can help your school reduce waste, Contact Diane Hazard, Director of Education, at or (760) 436-7986 x704.