Boulder environmental education program focuses on zero waste

Traditionally, environmental education involves classroom lessons supplemented by field trips and hands-on learning. In 24 elementary schools in Boulder, Colorado, however, learning about waste, recycling, and composting involves going to lunch.

OK, that’s not the complete program, but Boulder’s Green Star Schools go beyond the standard environmental education curriculum in focusing on zero waste… and implementing these ideas in the cafeteria, where kids separate out recyclables and compostables.

An initiative of the pioneering waste management non-profit Eco-Cycle, the Green Star Schools program aims to teach kids about the impact of their trash. Their goal: zero waste schools… and, after five years, they’re moving right along toward that goal, with up to two-thirds of waste being diverted away from landfills.

The program’s also got results to show in terms of its educational goals: according to Sophie Quinton at Earth 911, kids leaving these schools are pushing for similar activities at their middle schools… so much so that their new principals are contacting Eco-Cycle about joining the program.

While many schools have recycling efforts and other environmentally-themed activities, the Green Star Schools program is the first in the nation promoting zero waste… and it looks like a model worth replicating.

Know of other innovative education efforts getting kids to think about what they throw away? Let us know about them…


Image credit: Eco-Cycle