Reduce, Reuse, Recycle at Schools

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SMM schools program_1

To help ensure all schools in Carlsbad comply with local and state laws, the Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Division has assisted schools in implementing, improving and sustaining recycling programs. In 2018 and 2021, the city implemented its assistance program at schools within the Carlsbad Unified School District. The assistance program included:

  • Campus audits of existing waste practices and disposal services, as well as recommendations to right-size those services
  • Provision and placement of interior and exterior equipment, including classroom recycling bins and lunch waste stations
  • Student and staff education

Due to the its success, in 2023, the city further rolled out the program, assisting the two elementary schools located in Carlsbad in the San Marcos Unified School District and one high school in Carlsbad in the San Dieguito Union High School District. 

School waste characterization studies reveal that each student generates between 200 – 240 pounds of discarded waste per school year. Over a third of these materials, such as paper, plastic, metal, and glass, are recyclable. Approximately another third are organic materials such as food and yard waste.

School recycling programs start in the classroom, with the students and teachers placing discards in the proper bins, but they reach far beyond that. School recycling programs empower children to take an active part in sustaining our environment and natural resources. Recycling programs can teach students, teachers, staff, administration, and parents not only the basics of recycling but also about sustainability and environmental stewardship. 

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