What do we throw away? There are three main components to waste: trash, recycling, and compost. SFUSD schools have bins for all of these types of waste.
- Recycling: Recycling is the process of collecting, processing, and creating something new from the same material. In San Fransisco, we can recycle materials like glass, paper, plastic, and metal in the blue bin. Want to learn more about what you can recycle? Visit the SF Recology website.
- Compost: Compost is a natural process that breaks down organic matter or anything that comes from plants or animals. In SFUSD schools, you can compost food scraps and yard trimmings. These materials go in the green bin at your school. Learn more on the SF Recology website.
- Trash: Trash is all other materials that do not fit into these two categories. Trash items go in the black bin. Note, some trash like batteries and electronics require a different disposal procedure. For more information, visit the SF Recology website.
Why do we sort our waste? Most trash goes to landfills so any waste that can be diverted from trash to recycling or compost means less trash going to landfills!
- Diverting organic waste from the landfill to compost means less methane (a potent greenhouse gas) being emitted into our atmosphere, which mitigates climate change.
- Materials take a lot of energy and resources to make, so by recycling materials we can limit the amount of new materials needing to be produced. This also reduces the amount of carbon dioxide (another greenhouse gas) emitted!
- Learn more about Zero Waste concepts here.
How do we measure our trash reduction efforts? We determine the school’s diversion rate to measure trash reduction efforts. A diversion rate is the percentage of total waste that is put into recycling or compost bins instead of trash bins. Schools can achieve a higher diversion rate by recycling and composting as many materials as possible. The number and size of waste bins are often used to calculate the diversion rate. For example, if your school has four bins that are all the same size, two bins are recycling bins, one bin is compost, and one bin is trash, your school’s diversion rate would be 75%.
Check out this spreadsheet to see your school’s waste diversion rate! Remember, the higher the percentage the better!