On Saturday, March 17, 2012, students from Castro Valley High worked with the Castro Valley Sanitary District to analyze two days worth of waste generated on campus by 3000 students.
37 students dug through 256 bags of mixed garbage collected from the schools trash cans and sorted the materials into three categories: mixed recyclables (paper, plastic & metal containers, cardboard, etc); mixed organic material (food scraps, food soiled paper, lunch trays, etc); and trash – items destined for the landfill.
After five hours of work in the school gym, students found that over 80% of the waste in the trash cans on campus could be diverted from the landfill. 46% of the material could be composted and 34% could be recycled. Only 20% of the material in the trash actually needed to go to the landfill.
According to the Castro Valley Sanitary District, if the school were to aggressively compost and recycle, they could reduce the number of trash dumpster pickups at the school and save $40,000 per year.
Castro Valley Sanitary District made the following recommendations to help the school reduce the amount of waste it produces and sends to landfill:
- Castro Valley High School could enhance waste reduction efforts by introducing food scrap recycling in the Cafeteria and Annex. 46% of the school's garbage is organics material. CVSan has successfully implemented food scrap recycling with the great continued work of staff, students and parents at all 9 elementary schools and both middle schools in CVUSD! CVSan staff will provide technical assistance and conduct trainings to start any form of food scrap recycling program at CVHS. Contact CVSan at 510-537-0757.
- CVSan observed that gray garbage containers outnumbered the blue recycle carts in the outdoor areas of campus. We recommend reducing the number of garbage containers on campus to encourage students to recycle. 34% of the school's garbage was recyclable material. Once excess garbage containers are removed around campus, all garbage containers should be paired with a recycling cart. Improved stations around campus would make recycling much easier for students.
- There was a significant number of easily recyclable plastic and glass bottles as well as metal cans in the garbage sorted. Many campuses find it fun and a great way to raise money for activities by placing bottle and can only recycling containers around school grounds. Students and/or school staff can take these recyclables to a local deposit center for redemption value (hundreds of dollars a year at much smaller schools). CVSan could donate containers specifically for this purpose.