Davis Schools Strive for Zero Waste


By Michelle Millet

In 2012, DavisRISE, a school districtwide recycling program co-sponsored by Davis Farm to School and the Davis Joint Unified School District, took waste diversion to another level by instituting a food scrap collection program at all eight elementary schools in Davis.

The ALL (All Lunch Leftovers) Compost Program is supported by the city of Davis and Davis Waste Removal. Its motto — “Sow It, Grow It, Reap It, Eat and Recycle, Too” — instills the environmental message that what comes from the Earth must return to the Earth.

DavisRISE recycle coordinators work on school sites, directing and teaching students to place their lunch leftovers, as well as their paper products, into compost collection bins instead of the garbage, and to recycle other materials appropriately.

The school site coordinator also works with custodians, administrators and staff to implement a site-specific recycling and composting program.

During the first year of the program, elementary schools cut their waste production by one-third to one-half, which is an estimated reduction of 240 two-yard bins of trash per year, resulting in a savings to the district of approximately $3,000 annually.

Having a food composting program in place at schools will be essential next year when the city expands its waste-collection services to include all organic material in order to reach a waste-reduction goal of 75 percent diversion by 2020, and its ultimate goal of zero waste.

In hopes of helping establish successful composting and recycling programs at all school sites, Davis Waste Removal and DavisRISE are sponsoring a video contest for Davis junior high and high school students. The winning video will be used districtwide to educate DavisRISE volunteers, staff and students about recycling and composting at their school sites.

Eligible videos should be:

* Produced by junior high or high school students;

* Five to 10 minutes in length;

* Show diversity in student casting;

* Educate primary or secondary students about recycling and composting on their school campuses;

* Contain accurate information about what can and can’t be recycled and composted; and

First-prize winners will receive $100 and second-prize winners will receive $50. All students who work on a video are eligible to receive community service hours for their completed project.

Videos must be submitted by Dec. 7. All video participants under 18 need to have a signed photo release form, which can be found at the Yolo Farm to Fork website, www.yolofarmtofork.org.

For more information about the project, contact Keri Hawkins at khawkins@djusd.net.

About The Author

Michelle Millet is a 25-year resident of Davis. She currently serves as the Chair of the Natural Resource Commission.

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