At its November 3 meeting, the Shoreline City Council declared November 15 America Recycles Day in Shoreline. In honor of America Recycles Day, the Council and Recology CleanScapes recognized teachers, students, and parents from Parkwood and Syre Elementary Schools for their efforts to increase recycling and reduce waste. Recology CleanScapes also awarded each school $5,000.
Both schools have achieved Level One status in the King County Green Schools program. The first level in the Green Schools program encourages recycling and waste reduction, and schools that participate receive technical assistance and supplies from King County.
“I am so proud of the students at Syre and Parwood Elementaries for their hard work and dedication to becoming King County Green Schools,” commented Mayor Shari Winstead. “Kids learning how to reduce waste and be more sustainable is critical for our future.”
Syre Elementary added milk carton and juice box collection to its lunch time recycling program. They also started a food scraps collection pilot in March 2012. Prior to the pilot, the school generated an average of 24 pounds of garbage at lunchtime. By the end of the pilot the school was generating an average of three pounds of garbage and 21 pounds of compostable food scraps and food soiled paper at lunchtime. Syre currently collects compostable materials during its 2nd and 3rd lunch periods, and is slowly introducing the program to K-1 students during the 1st lunch period. Parent volunteers help monitor the recycling and waste stations during each lunch period.
Syre’s student Green Team also initiated three Waste Free Friday events to encourage students to pack waste-free lunches in reusable and recyclable containers. The reward for bringing a waste-free lunch was a ticket to participate in fun lunchtime activities. Student participation was high, with 42 percent of students earning a reward.
Syre’s recycling rate increased from 21 percent in May 2011 to 53 percent in May 2012. Syre was recognized as a Level One King County Green School in May 2012.
During the 2013-14 school year, Parkwood Elementary School began to collect recyclable materials in every classroom and in school offices. Green Team students presented waste reduction and recycling information to each classroom in April 2014. Parents and staff provided a brief waste reduction and recycling training during a PTA meeting and shared the school’s waste reduction success. The school’s recycling rate increased from 23 percent to 35 percent during the 2013-14 school year. Parkwood was recognized as a Level One King County Green School in May 2014.
“Schools like Syre Elementary and Parkwood Elementary are demonstrating that significant waste reduction is possible with committed teachers and students, a few straightforward, effective strategies, and the support of school officials and parents,” said Recology CleanScapes General Manager Dan Bridges. “We are inspired by these schools’ efforts and their impressive results, and look forward to working with schools throughout the district to adopt Syre and Parkwood’s creative strategies.”
The $5,000 awards are part of the City of Shoreline and Recology CleanScapes’ Waste Reduction Rewards program, which recognizes schools for their contributions to decrease waste sent to the landfill by increasing their recycling.
King County Green Schools Program provides assistance, recycling containers and signs, and recognition to schools and districts for their waste reduction efforts. The program has four levels, with Level One focused on waste reduction and recycling, Level Two on energy conservation, Level Three on water conservation, and Level Four on how to sustain and build on Green School practices.
Currently, 210 schools throughout King County – including six schools in Shoreline School District – are participating in the program. So far, 186 schools – including Parkwood Elementary and Syre Elementary – have been recognized as Level One King County Green Schools.
To be a Level One Green School, schools must form a Green Team, educate students and staff about how to reduce waste and recycle, and initiate or expand their waste reduction and recycling practices, and reach a 40 percent or higher recycling rate. To learn more about the Green Schools Program visit kingcounty.gov