Department of General Services

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DGS - Healthy Schools

DGS DC Healthy Schools logo

Under the DC Healthy Schools Act of 2010, DGS is responsible for a variety of activities designed to ensure that schools are healthy, safe places to learn. These include programs on recycling and composting, energy reduction, drinking water testing, indoor air quality, and integrated pest management.

For more information, please contact Beth Gingold, Schools Conservation Coordinator, Department of General Services - Sustainability and Energy Division.


11/10/2015 – DCPS Maintenance Staff Visits Composting Facility

On October 27, DCPS maintenance employees and the DCPS Recycles! team toured the Western Branch Composting Facility in Upper Marlboro, MD, where DCPS sends its organic waste. It was an opportunity for maintenance employees to see where DCPS organic waste is composted and learn about the composting process. As a result of the tour, the maintenance employees who attended are better equipped to be leaders in their schools by advocating for why organics recycling is important in DCPS schools. Check out pictures from the tour!

If you would like to set up a tour of the composting facility for students, contact Steven Birchfield of Maryland Environmental Services at SBIRC@menv.com. Tours are free and typically last about an hour.

Are you interested in compost for your school garden? D.C. Public Schools get a discounted price for LeafGro™ compost. The minimum volume of compost available for pickup is 5 cubic yards. Contact Cara Blumenthal at cara.blumenthal@dc.gov to find out how to get your reduced price compost!

11/3/2015 – DGS Congratulates the 2015 D.C. “Recycle Right!” Competition Participants and Winners

The Department of General Services (DGS) congratulates the 21 schools that participated in the D.C. Recycle Right! Competition, part of OSSE’s Growing Healthy Schools Month October celebration. The goal of the competition was to reward participants for “recycling right,” not recycling more, which is more in line with the Sustainable DC goal of zero waste by 2032. If you did not get a chance to participate in the competition, your school can participate in the bin survey activity at any time of the year to encourage and improve classroom recycling. You can find instructions on the Conduct a Waste Study page.  Read more about the competition.

Check out pictures from the competition and awards ceremony!

11/3/2015 - Order Supplies for Next Semester by Fri Nov 6!

Please fill out this order form by Friday November 6, 2015 to receive recycling/trash supplies in time for next semester! The order form should be completed by your school’s business manager or recycling representative delegated by the principal. The goal is for every DCPS school is set up for recycling paper in classrooms by the end of this year!

In order to make sure your school has the right supplies….

1) Ask maintenance staff. BEFORE filling out this form, please check with your maintenance staff to see if you have bins in storage. Remember that more bins is not always better.
2) Schedule a consultation. If you are not sure what supplies your school needs, you can schedule a supplies consultation with our team usingthis order form
3) Trust us – more is not always better! The DCPS Recycles! team will review your supply order and reconcile it with past supply orders. If we notice that you may be requesting more supplies than necessary, we will follow up with you to schedule a supplies consultation.

Supply Order Form for 2nd Semester SY15-16

8/17/2015 - DCPS Recycles! Back to School Actions

Welcome back! Here are the first steps school staff can take to get started right on recycling this year:

For assistance, please contact Beth Gingold, beth.gingold@dc.gov.

About DCPS Recycles!

The DCPS Recycles! program is designed to fulfill legal requirements; improve building operations; reduce waste of money and natural resources; achieve the SustainableDC target of zero waste by 2032; and teach DCPS students values and skills for a sustainable 21st century.  The goal is to sort all waste properly so as much as possible can be composted or recycled instead of sent to a landfill or incinerator!

All DCPS schools are expected to sort paper recyclables, mixed recyclables, non-recyclable trash, and – in these 70 schools this yearorganics. 

To achieve this,

  • Everyone is expected to participate! All staff and students are to sort waste into bins according to labels and instructions provided.
  • Teachers are responsible for ensuring blue classroom bins are used for PAPER ONLY.
  • Custodial staff is responsible for collection. Custodial staff is NOT responsible for sorting – if one person puts trash in a recycling bin everything in it becomes trash.
  • Anyone can advocate! Ask your principal who is the administrator who has been delegated using this form as responsible for your program.

Classrooms and offices should each have a bin for collecting PAPER ONLY and common areas may have bins for sorting mixed recyclables or paper recyclables. In schools recycling organics, the cafeteria will have bins for sorting organics, mixed recyclables and trash.

DGS provides pick up services, standardized supplies, and on-site support. Please contact Beth.Gingold@dc.gov for assistance with your school’s program.

Recycling Resources