Local Schools Help Reduce Trash to the Landfill with the City’s Food Waste Recycling & Composting Program

Since 2013, Environmental Sustainability in partnership with E.J. Harrison and Sons and Gold Coast Recycling has been offering recycling and composting programs within the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD). The program mission is to educate children on how and what can be recycled or composted and the reasons behind why these practices are essential to the sustainability of our community.

“In the past four years, VUSD has successfully enrolled all elementary schools in the food waste collection and recycling program with the aid of the city and E.J. Harrison,” said City of Ventura Environmental Specialist, Brandon Kaysen. “In our pilot year, we were able to get four schools onboard. By 2014, we were up to seven, 2015 we were at 12, and by the end of 2016, all 17 elementary schools in the district had a program in place.”

Once a school signs on to be in the program, trashcans are provided for un-recyclable materials and 5-gallon buckets collecting liquid waste. EJ Harrison provides food waste collection bins and the Environmental Sustainability provides recycle cans and signage.

“In addition to supplying appropriate bin signage, the city also provides in-classroom and lunchtime assistance to explain the process and value of the program to students and staff,” continued Kaysen. “We also assist schools in doing waste audits to find areas of improvement and help schools institute internal recognition and rewards for a job well done. Additionally, every year, the City, in cooperation with Agromin, identifies two deserving schools with a Green School Award (Environmental Leadership Award and Watershed Hero Award Winner).”

With the implementation of the food waste recycling & composting program and in-classroom recycling programs, the City plans to divert 150 tons of compostable food waste from the landfill on an annual basis and hopes to reduce trash pickups by 30% by 2020. 2017 is the first year of in-depth waste audits to determine how frequently we need trash service. Since trash disposal costs more than recycling and food waste, we hope that by reducing the amount of trash that is sent to the landfill, we’ll save the school district money while improving Ventura’s environmental footprint,” said Kaysen.

View this city video, which identifies Food Waste Recycling & Composting Program Best Practices.

For more information, contact Brandon Kaysen at (805) 652-4593 or bkaysen@cityofventura.ca.gov