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Several schools collect recyclables generated from the BIC program at their school. Items that can be recycled include empty cereal bowls, yogurt containers, plastic fruit cups, and milk and juice cartons.  


At Freese Elementary, the Building Services Supervisor (BSS) includes a classroom size recycling bin (7 qt.) inside every rolling trash container assigned to each class. At the end of breakfast students empty their extra milk, juice, or other food into the trash can and put their recyclables in the blue recycling bin.  The student helper folds down the trash can liner and places the recycling bin on top before rolling it back to the designated location.  The BSS consolidates the recyclables into a larger can before taking them to the large recycling dumpsters.  The recycling bins are rinsed out for use the next morning.


Some schools tie a clear trash bag to the handle of the designated BIC trash cans and ask students to place their empty recyclables into the bag.


A significant amount of material generated at lunchtime can be recycled at school! It's not hard to set-up a lunchtime recycling program, but the school principal and Building Services Supervisor (BSS) should be on board and supportive of the program.  In many cases, the BSS is the person spearheading the program.



  • Molded fiber lunch trays (some food residue is okay) ~ 10 million lunch trays are generated at our schools every year!

  • Milk & juice cartons & boxes (empty) ~ 6.5 million milk & juice cartons are served to elementary students every year!

  • Paper lunch bags & food boxes (Lunchables boxes, raisin boxes, etc.)

  • Hard plastic items (Lunchables trays, fruit & pudding cups, drink bottles, yogurt containers, clear plastic salad or food containers, etc.)

  • Aluminum cans, clean foil, and aluminum trays



  • Set up lunch court Recycling Zone(s) that include 1) a bucket/container for liquids, 2) a recycling bin, and 3) a trash bin.  Usually a small table is already set up for students to "whack & stack" their lunch trays for recycling.

  • Modify dismissal practices, if needed, to avoid large crowds at the recycling stations

  • Recruit student leaders/helpers for each Recycling Zone to assist other students (one student to help at the liquids station to open and pour milk  from unopened cartons and one student to help keep trays neatly stacked).  Plastic gloves should be provided to the helpers.

  • Make announcements about the program and what can be recycled at assemblies or rallies; make recycling posters that have actual recyclable items taped on them to show students as an example.




Zero waste lunches are carefully packed at home using reusable containers

for  packaging  instead  of  disposable  items  that  must  be  thrown  away.  

For example, pack lunches with the following:

  • Reusable lunch box or bag

  • Reusable drink container

  • Small reusable pouches for snacks or sandwiches 

  • Containers with lids for fruit, crackers, nuts, sandwiches, etc.

  • Reusable silverware and napkin


Over time, families can save money and help the environment by choosing to reuse! For more information, just search "Zero waste lunch" on the web, or check out


And don't forget to ask your child(ren) to bring home ALL of their uneaten items so you can get a good idea of what your child is actually consuming at school.  Visit any school at lunch and see how much food kids are throwing away.  It's a real eye opener.


Composting is nature's way of recycling.  By composting leaves, garden waste, yard trimmings, and food scraps, you can help make the best "food" for your garden's soil, while reducing the amount of organic waste going to our landfills.  


Several schools collect leftover salad bar scraps from the cafeteria for composting in their school gardens. Collection is coordinated through Food & Nutrition Services and the kitchen manager.  All composting activities should be approved by the school principal.


For more information on collecting kitchen salad bar scraps or composting at school, please veiw or download the district's Compost Best Practices Guide.

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