a photo of peas, celery, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and salad

Happy Earth Day! Check out all the ways our schools ensure that waste reduction, recycling and composting are practiced and promoted through our Green Genius program. All thanks to a 16-year partnership between Bellevue School District and Bellevue Utilities.

  • All schools participate in Bellevue School District’s Green Genius initiative to ensure that waste reduction, recycling and composting are practiced and promoted.
  • All elementary, middle and high school students compost and recycle in the school cafeteria. Approximately 365 tons of food waste (such as banana peels, apple cores) are collected and composted from the District schools per year.
  • For the past seven years, the Bellevue School District and City of Bellevue have issued a challenge to all schools to reduce cafeteria waste. Last year 21 schools participated, representing 14,000 students and staff.
  • The school with the lowest waste per student at lunch for the 2018 cafeteria challenge was Puesta del Sol. The 546 students were able to reduce their waste to 2.9 grams per student on the challenge day. That is the same weight as one penny!
  • According to the EPA, the average American student generates 67 pounds of lunch garbage per school year. The Bellevue student average is just under 7.5 pounds for the entire year – less than 12 percent of the national average!
  • 15 elementary schools and four middle schools use reusable trays at lunch.
  • Three elementary schools have switched to reusable utensils from plastic utensils. We plan to add more next year. This year, Jing Mei joined and alone will keep 144,000 plastic utensils out of the landfill. Plastic utensils are used for 10 minutes yet take 500 years to break down in a landfill.
  • 13,000 pounds of food was donated during the 2017/2018 school year from four participating schools to Hopelink. This year, six schools are participating. Hopelink provides support for people living in north and east King County.
  • Bellevue School District is phasing out “spork kits”, meaning students can get napkins, utensils or straws (upon request) separately.
  • 86 percent of Bellevue public schools have a recycling rate (percent of material that is recycled or composted instead of thrown in the garbage) of fifty percent or higher. 12 schools in the district have a 70 percent recycling rate!

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