2014 School Recycling Award Winners

School Award Winner - Partnerships

Ocosta High School 

Location: Westport, Wash.
Amount of paper and paper-based packaging recovered in 2013: 24 tons
School population: 621
Amount collected per student: 60 pounds


Ocosta High School’s recycling program includes the wider community. When the Port of Grays Harbor’s recycling program closed down, Ocosta High offered to direct all their materials to their school. They also advertise and put articles in the local newspaper welcoming all local businesses to bring in corrugated cardboard. The response from the community has been positive, and the school added a third bin to keep up with the incoming supply.


Ocosta High School established a paper recycling program in 1992. In the twenty plus years since, their program evolved from complete commingled to having corrugated cardboard and mixed paper separated and baled. The school’s recycling program is a district-wide group effort with students at all grade levels, local businesses and the wider community participating.


Ocosta High continually educates students and the broader community about the importance of recycling, and paper recycling is incorporated into the curriculum in many ways. Specifically, the high school biology and natural resources programs have sections comparing and contrasting recycling paper versus throwing it in the trash. The natural resources class oversees the recycling program and does final collection and baling. The school has a baling machine that makes 1000 lb. bales, which they count to measure the success of their program and compare amounts of recycled paper with past records.

More information

To learn more about Ocosta High School, visit http://www.edline.net/pages/Ocosta_Jr-Sr_HS.

2014 School Recycling Award Winner - Creativity

Greenhill School

Location: Addison, Texas
Amount of paper and paper-based packaging recovered in 2013: 36 tons
School population: 1244
Amount collected per student: 40 pounds


Greenhill School made videos featuring kindergarten students to educate the school community on what can and cannot be recycled. Students lead assemblies with question and answer sessions on recycling and create posters that are hung around the school buildings with concise information regarding recycling and what is accepted. Any money collected as a result of recycling is used for the school’s Green Team initiatives, which include maintaining a community garden and hosting speakers for neighboring schools to promote recycling.


Greenhill School started a small recycling program fifteen years ago collecting only white office paper. After realizing how many other types of paper they were using, they expanded the program to collect all types of paper, including newspaper, magazines and corrugated cardboard. To meet the overwhelming response they received, they now have a single stream recycling process.


Greenhill School’s recycling program is a campus-wide endeavor with recycling bins in every office and classroom. Fourth grade students collect recovered paper one day per week throughout the lower school and the maintenance crew collect it on the other days. To improve their program, Greenhill did a trash audit with help from their waste management company. The company collected one day's worth of trash and one week's worth of recycling, sorted and weighed the items, and gave exact weights of trash and recycling. This enabled them to determine what percentage (on average) of trash wound up in the recycling bin and what percentage of recyclables ended up in the trash.

More information

To learn more about Greenhill School, visit www.greenhill.org.

2014 School Recycling Award Winner - Participation, Volume

Damascus Elementary School

Location: Salem, Ohio
Amount of paper and paper-based packaging recovered in 2013: 94 tons
School population: 426
Amount collected per student: 440 pounds


Every teacher at Damascus Elementary School promotes the educational component of the paper recycling program. Recycling is considered a life skill for students and staff, and it is stressed during class time, at lunch time, at environmental club meetings and during morning announcements. Recycling is incorporated into the math, science and language arts curriculum and taught at every grade level. Students are taught to understand the connection between resource conservation and recycling, and eagerly participate in the paper recycling program. Teachers also receive training in this area and guest presenters from the Mahoning County Green Team – the county’s recycling division – and other environmental agencies reinforce the message. Fourth grade students perform the twice-weekly collection of classroom paper, allowing them to take ownership of the program and realize its importance. Every year on Earth Day the school collects used phone books, a project in which the entire community participates.


Damascus’ paper recycling program was established in 2003 when the Mahoning County Green Team offered a county-wide recycling program to schools. Realizing that paper is the largest component of their waste stream, Damascus saw an opportunity. The program has flourished and grown over the past decade. Damascus is the only school in Mahoning County that replaced their four yard bin with an eight yard bin to accommodate the increase in paper collected. Due to the success of the program, the school was asked to participate in a phone book recovery program for four consecutive years.


The school collects school paper, newspaper, magazines, corrugated cardboard, paperboard, brown bags, direct mail, phone books, soup can labels, and box tops. Every room in the Damascus building is equipped with a paper recycling bin. Students from the Damascus Environmental Club oversee the program under the supervision of a teacher and with support from the principal. The Damascus custodian assists with quality control and manages the paper in the large outdoor bin. Program success is measured by the weight of paper collected, which is recorded by the Mahoning County Green Team.

More information

To learn more about Damascus Elementary School, visit www.westbranch.k12.oh.us.