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Schools: Programs

Student Scholarships

RecycleSmart, in partnership with Mt. Diablo Recycling, has created Waste Reduction Student Scholarships for students attending a public high school in our service area. We will award college scholarships of up to $4000 to up to four high school seniors every year. If you have implemented a waste reduction program or have made significant contributions to reducing waste at your school, this scholarship is for you! Just describe your project and how it has reduced waste at your school. For questions, please contact Ruth Abbe at (415) 235-1356 or 

Attention 2021 high school graduates from Central Contra Costa: If you are motivated to initiate or improve a waste reduction project at your school this year, please complete the Scholarship Program Interest Form today. 

Click the link below to open the application form:


Wastebusters Program

We’ll make it easy—and free!—to start a Wastebusters program at your school or for an entire school district. We developed an action plan for school coordinators and will supply all the tools you need to reduce school waste going to landfill. The goal is to divert 75% of all items away from landfill bins and into either recycling or organic composting bins. And we’ll reward schools that achieve that rate with up to $1,500 (see Wastebusters Awards).

Use this action plan below to set up your Wastebusters program. You’ll find help available at each step.

Action Plan Tasks and Coordinators

  • Visit a pilot school at lunch time to observe procedures (coordinator, principal, custodian), Ruth Abbe
  • Conduct a waste audit/“binventory”, Nancy Deming
  • Meet with coordinator, principal, custodian and Wastebusters contact to discuss action plan/equipment/start date, Ruth Abbe
  • Schedule assembly or presentation prior to start date (plan your own or schedule with Wastebusters), Jessica Robinson
  • Order equipment and print lesson plans, letter for parents, posters, Ruth Abbe
  • Identify students to be Compost Monitors (a class, grade or club)
  • Train Compost Monitors, Jessica Robinson
  • Train teachers on the lesson plan to conduct on the start date
  • Schedule parent volunteers to assist with monitoring for the first month, Coordinate with your PTA or Green Team or ask us for help
  • Send letter to parents notifying them of the new program and the start date
  • Work with custodial staff to stage lunch stations, distribute bins, Coordinate with custodial staff/principal
  • Distribute lesson plans and posters, Coordinate with your teachers
  • Monitor and provide feedback, Ruth Abbe
  • Identify coordinator to provide on-going support for the next school year, Coordinate with your PTA or Green Team or ask us for help

Action Plan Contacts

Free Bins

We have three forms you can use to help ensure your school is completely equipped for a robust recycling and composting program. Depending on availability, bins usually arrive at your school within a few days.

  • Dumpster Watch - Use this form to track how full your dumpsters are, whether your school only has landfill or also has recycling, food scraps and yard trimmings. This will help you “rightsize” the dumpsters and also help track your recycling rates. If you’re just starting a Wastebusters program, you might want to complete this form once again after a few months.
  • “Binventory” - Complete this spreadsheet to determine how many recycling and compost containers and bins your school already has and how many more you might need. You’ll need to send that to us, along with your bin order.
  • Bin Orders   Then use the order form for free containers and bins of all kinds in all sizes, plus aprons and grabbers for your Dumpster Watch team. Republic Services will deliver your additional bins and other items.

Custodial Support

RecycleSmart offers an on-site training program for custodial staff on best practices for school recycling and composting. We’ll also provide free equipment to make their jobs easier, such as carts, dollies, signage and trash grabbers. To set up a training session, contact Ruth Abbe, 415-235-1356 or email

Green Team Training

Our Green Team Training program helps schools implement waste reduction, recycling and composting projects. We work with teams of students, parents, teachers, custodians and administrators to ensure schools have both the physical and social infrastructure to support recycling and food scraps composting. We’ll help ensure everyone knows how to properly sort materials for each bin. 

School Assemblies

RecycleSmart offers free assemblies to kick off your school’s new program:

  • “The Power of Sorting Resources” with an in-person visit with Resilience the Recycle Woman; for elementary schools.
  • “The 4 Rs” with the Earthcapades juggling team, showing how to reduce, reuse, recycle and rot; for elementary schools.
  • Customized presentations and films such as Just Eat It and Trashed; for middle schools and high schools.
  • Republic Services offers a recycling truck assembly, bringing a truck to school to show how it works, along with safety and recycling training.

To schedule an assembly, contact Jessica Robinson at 510-435-0658 or email

Field Trips

Ever wonder what happens to your old stuff after the recycling truck or trash truck empties your cart? You and your students can find out on a free RecycleSmart field trip—we’ll even reimburse your school for the cost of the bus!

All Wastebusters schools are eligible for free field trips to either the Mt. Diablo Recycling Center or the Keller Canyon Landfill both located in Pittsburg.

Contact Ruth Abbe, 415-235-1356 or email

Wastebuster Awards

Is your school a Wastebuster? Are you diverting at least 50 percent of your waste from the landfill? If you qualify for the Wastebusters Award Program, your school can earn:

  • $1,500 for reaching 75% diversion and above (first year)
  • $1000 for maintaining 75% diversion and above
  • $750 for reaching 60% diversion
  • $500 for reaching 50% diversion

To earn your reward, please fill out the Wastebuster Application.