Text Resize

-A +A
Bookmark and Share

Healthy Schools

Two 96-gallon Recycling “Supercans” photoUnder the 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.


03-03-14 - DCPS Recycles! Honor Roll Application OPEN - Recycling Program News

Please use this form by March 14, 2014 to nominate your school to be included on the DCPS Recycles! Honor Roll!

To nominate your school for the DCPS Recycles! Honor Roll, please fill out this form by March 14, 2014. All DCPS schools that are consistently recycling PAPER and CARDBOARD qualify to be listed on the Honor Roll, and schools that are recycling additional materials will receive special recognition. DGS will conduct random inspections of nominated schools to verify reported information. Qualifying schools will be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2014.

Other DCPS Recycling Program News

  • No or clear liners for all recycling bins - By next year all schools should be using no or clear plastic liners in all recycling bins to be consistent with the requirements of our haulers. If your school is currently using black plastic trash bags please plan to switch over to clear liners for next year.
  • Survey results - Many thanks to the 50 respondents to the Recycling Feedback Survey! Overall, 85% of respondents were interested in compost; and 80% of respondents were satisfied with the services, supplies, and support received so far. The three priority action areas that were identified based on the results are: (1) give more opportunities for recognition; (2) provide more on-site training for staff and educational activities for students; and (3) clarify roles and responsibilities for implementing an effective program.
  • Toters picked up - Pick up of excess toters began last week. If there were any problems with your pick up please notify Beth Gingold, beth.gingold@dc.gov. Schools will be notified if another opportunity to request pick up becomes available.
  • Expansion of organics collection for 2014-2015 - Based on the lessons learned from our 10 school pilot, DGS will be significantly expanding the organics collection program for the 2014-2015 school year.  Please stay tuned on how to prepare for collecting compostable materials in your cafeterias and kitchens!

01-07-14 - DCPS Schools: Give Recycling Feedback for the New Year!

Please fill out this form by January 17, 2013 to help us improve the recycling program!

The Department of General Services (DGS) would like to thank all the DCPS schools for their recycling efforts and would appreciate feedback about how we can improve the program in the coming year. Please fill out this form by January 17, 2013 to help us improve the recycling program for DCPS!

08-23-13 - DCPS Recycling Program 2013-2014 Kick Off

The Department of General Services (DGS) is excited to kick off this year’s recycling program for DCPS schools. Here are the answers to a few basic questions to help you get started.

Why does DCPS recycle?
Developing good recycling habits in students helps grow responsible citizens! Recycling is a basic part of responsible building waste management and is required in schools under DC Municipal Regulations. The Healthy Schools Act has set a target diversion rate of 45% by 2015.

What is expected from DCPS schools?
All schools are to separate paper and cardboard into a designated recycling dumpster or compactor; and plastics, metal, and glass into separate “supercans.” The eleven schools participating in the pilot compost pick up program will also separate food waste from their kitchens and cafeterias into separate supercans.

What does DCPS recycle?
DCPS recycles all paper products including colored paper, envelopes, post-it notes, glossy paper, cardboard boxes and paperboard, hard and soft-cover books, spiral notebooks, magazines, and file folders; metal products including aluminum and tin cans and aluminum foil; plastics #1-7 including bottles as well as food containers; and glass including bottles and jars.

Who recycles in DCPS?
All DCPS staff and students are expected to recycle. Although building operations and custodial staff are ultimately responsible for what goes in which dumpsters, the program only works if everyone pitches the right materials in the right bins.

What supplies should I expect to see in my school?
By the end of this year, each classroom and office should have a clearly labeled recycling bin for paper only. Common areas and cafeterias may have additional clearly labeled bins for collecting glass/plastic/metals.

Why do we have separate bins for paper/cardboard and glass/plastic/metals?
These materials are NOT TRASH! We are selling them on the recycling market. By separating clean paper and cardboard and empty glass, plastic, and metal containers, we produce a higher quality more valuable product. The program in schools is different from the residential recycling program because schools produce far more paper and cardboard than individual homes.

What does DGS provide?
DGS provides recycling pick up services, recycling supplies such as bins and labels, and support such as guidance information and training.

How can I get help? Please contact Beth Gingold, Schools Conservation Coordinator, (202) 727-3587.

08-23-13 - New DCPS Compost Pilot!

The Department of General Services (DGS) is excited to announce a compost pick up pilot in eleven DCPS schools! The lessons learned from this pilot will help inform the potential roll out of composting in more schools. In the meantime, below are answers to a few common questions about the program.

Why compost?
The Healthy Schools Act has set a target diversion rate of 45% by 2015 - by composting DCPS can meet and begin to exceed this target, moving toward the even more ambitious zero waste goals set in the SustainableDC plan.

Which schools are included in the pilot?
Cardozo High School, Deal Middle School, Dunbar High School, Janney Elementary, Key Elementary, Mann Elementary, Murch Elementary, Shepherd Elementary, Stoddert Elementary, Walker Jones Education Campus, and Wilson High School. These schools were selected based on their locations to form a commercially viable hauling route; demonstrated commitment to recycling; and modernization schedules.

What is expected from these schools?
These schools will lead the way for other schools! The eleven schools will separate compostable waste from their kitchens and cafeterias into supercans provided by DGS – and help provide feedback about what works so that we can improve the program.

What will DCPS compost?
Schools will be able to compost all food waste including meat, dairy, bread, vegetable, and fruit products; paper towels and napkins; compostable trays; and greasy or soiled cardboard and other paper products.

What does DGS provide?
DGS provides compost pick up services (Tues/Fri), compost supplies such as bins, posters and labels, and support such as guidance information and training.

Does this replace composting in school gardens?
No! This pilot program is complementary to composting in school gardens. Schools can choose to compost some food waste on site for educational purposes. This provides great hands-on learning opportunities for students. The pick-up service allows for composting off site of materials better handled by an industrial facility (e.g. meat products).

What about pests?
Since the compost is picked up regularly pests are not expected to be any more of a problem than they are at schools which put food waste in their trash dumpsters. As a precaution DGS has considered this pilot in its Integrated Pest Management preventative maintenance scheduling.

How can I get more information?
Please contact Beth Gingold, Schools Conservation Coordinator, (202) 727-3587. For more information visit DGS Health Schools.

Recycling Resources

Past Announcements