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

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Department of General Services Recognizes 21 Schools for Promoting Recycling During Growing Healthy Schools Month


(Washington DC) — The Department of General Services (DGS) today congratulated the 21 schools that participated in the DC “Recycle Right! Competition” which is part of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) Growing Healthy Schools Month October celebration. 

Growing Healthy Schools Month celebrates the DC Healthy Schools Act in public schools throughout the District. During the annual celebration in October, school staffs coordinate activities aimed at engaging students in conversations about nutrition, the environment, recycling, and being active.

The D.C. Recycle Right! Competition is part of the Green Schools Alliance’s Green Cup Challenge™. During the competition, students in both the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) and public charter schools used math skills in a real-world application to conduct weekly classroom bin surveys. Students counted the number of recycling and trash bins used correctly and incorrectly. Then, students and teachers took actions to improve bin survey results over the course of the competition.

“This is the first ever District-wide recycling competition among DC schools,” said Christopher Weaver, DGS Acting Director. “We are very proud of all the schools that participated in the recycling competition. Students in all eight wards demonstrated initiative and enthusiasm for recycling right in their schools.”

“DC is already a national leader when it comes to sustainable and innovative design of new school buildings,” added Mark Chambers, DGS Director of Sustainability and Energy. “It is just as important that our schools’ maintenance practices further sustainability to help achieve the Sustainable DC goal of zero waste by 2032.”

The goal of the competition is to encourage correct recycling behavior that leads to sustained improvement in recycling beyond the competition. As a result of the competition, several schools, like Columbia Heights Education Campus and Randle Highlands Elementary School, created student green teams which they plan on continuing throughout the rest of the school year.

“Most recycling competitions reward participants for recycling more based on volume or weight. This sends the wrong message by discouraging waste reduction,” said Beth Gingold, DGS Schools Conservation Coordinator. “This competition rewards participants for ‘recycling right’ based on percentage of correct bins, which is more in line with our zero waste goal.”

Applying real-world math skills, students from Cardozo Education Campus created bar graphs to analyze recycling data and trends throughout the competition. Students in the Sustainability Club at School Without Walls @ Francis-Stevens made homemade paper with both clean and contaminated paper recycling batches to show the importance of not contaminating the paper recycling bin.

Overall, the average of all the schools’ bin surveys increased from 69 percent correct during the first week of the competition to 78 percent correct during the last week.

“Growing Healthy Schools Month is just the beginning,” said Gingold. “Schools can participate in the bin survey activity at any time of the year to encourage and improve recycling.”

Schools that are interested in conducting the competition activity on their own can find instructions on the DGS – Healthy Schools page, here:

The D.C. Recycle Right! Competition is part of the international Green Cup Recycle Challenge™, a program of the Green Schools Alliance.

Special congratulations go to these winners:

Highest Performance
First-Second-Third & Honorable Mentions

Percentage of Correct Bins

1st     Benjamin Banneker High School  100%
2nd    River Terrace Education Campus   99%
3rd     J.O. Wilson Elementary School    94%
HM    Columbia Heights Education Campus     93%
HM    School Without Walls High School     93%

Most Improved
First-Second-Third & Honorable Mentions

Percentage Point Increase

1st      School Without Walls @ Francis-Stevens 
46 percentage points
2nd     Cardozo Education Campus                 45 percentage points
3rd      Randle Highlands Elementary School 33 percentage points
HM     River Terrace Education Campus  21 percentage points
HM     Van Ness Elementary School    20 percentage points

The full list of D.C. schools that participated in the Growing Healthy Schools Month recycling competition activity includes:

- Benjamin Banneker High School (Ward 1)
- Burroughs Elementary School (Ward 5)
- Cardozo Education Campus (Ward 1)
- Center City Public Charter School – Petworth Campus (Ward 4)
- Columbia Heights Education Campus (Ward 1)
- Deal Middle School (Ward 3)
- Friendship Woodridge Elementary and Middle (Ward 5)
- Friendship Armstrong Elementary (Ward 5)
- Garfield Elementary School (Ward 8)
- J.O. Wilson Elementary School (Ward 6)
- Key Elementary School (Ward 3)
- King Elementary School (Ward 8)
- Langdon Elementary School (Ward 5)
- Maury Elementary School (Ward 6)
- Oyster Adams Bilingual School (Ward 3)
- Randle Highlands Elementary School (Ward 7)
- River Terrace Education Campus (Ward 7)
- School Without Walls @ Francis-Stevens (Ward 2)
- School Without Walls High School (Ward 2)
- The SEED School of Washington, DC (Ward 7)
- Van Ness Elementary School (Ward 6)