The Food Scrap Recycling Program took some time to reach our schools in a sustainable way. There were no food scrap recycling programs at any of Castro Valley’s 17 public and private K-Adult schools in 2005. Food scraps and food-soiled paper represent at least 20 percent of a schools’ waste stream, so a food recycling program can really boost waste reduction and help schools save money. Organics and recycling services are free for schools, which is an additional incentive to implement food recycling programs.
In 2007, Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan) developed a comprehensive Food Scraps Recycling Guide For Castro Valley Schools which has been updated each year. You can find the latest A copy of the latest version of the Food Scraps Recycling Guide For Castro Valley Schools at the bottom of this page.
The response to the guide has been very positive. Depending on what stage of waste reduction programming schools are at, affects the number of recommendations they are able to implement. CVSan staff is available to help during the process. It is recommended that schools develop strong recycling programs first, then implement the food scrap recycling program. Also, what works at one school may not work for all schools. As an example, some schools may choose not to collect liquids in a bucket because of the added responsibility this involves.
CVSan staff will work with schools individually to help them implement whatever part of the food scrap recycling program they are working on. For example, some schools chose to start food scrap recycling with compostable trays only, and this is a good start towards full food scrap recycling.
Once recycling and food scrap recycling has been established, CVSan encourages schools to start a bag-a-bag program for plastic film recycling.
Recycling food scraps at school can be challenging, but it is often the single most effective waste reduction action a school can take. Castro Valley schools that compost food scraps divert an average of 85% from landfill! In 2020, out of 17 Castro Valley schools, 16 have sustainable food scrap recycling programs. In combination with the other programs Castro Valley schools participate in, such as the Green Ribbon Schools Program, Waste Audits, the provision of supplies, and continuous training, diversion by volume among all Castro Valley schools has increased from 35 percent in 2005, to 85 percent in 2020.
Students use what they learn about how to recycle and compost at home too, so school programs set a foundation for waste reduction habits that will affect the future.
The Food Scrap Recycling Program at Castro Valley Schools has resulted in effective organics management and improved waste diversion. This success story is a result of the effort of Castro Valley Schools but also the help of some of CVSan’s partner organizations including Castro Valley Unified School District, Alameda County Industries, and StopWaste to name a few.
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