The Green Genius Program has been honored by the Washington State Recycling Association with the Recycler of the Year Award for the Youth Education category! The program is a partnership between Bellevue School District and the City of Bellevue aimed at reducing waste at all twenty-nine schools in the district. This partnership has incorporated waste reduction, recycling and composting into the culture of each school through tools, policy, continued assistance, education and recognition. District procedures are consistently updated to reduce waste and then taught to Green Genius teams at each school, so they can promote conservation to their school community.
A few of the outstanding 2019 achievements recognized in this partnership include:
- A district-wide program requiring all schools to participate in annual resource conservation goals, including forming a Green Genius team and a waste-free lunch challenge
- All schools using reusable or compostable lunch trays, beginning to phase out straws, and three schools now using reusable utensils
- Nutrition Services switching from individually wrapped fruits and vegetables to serving with tongs at a salad bar
- Staff and students encouraged to take only what they will eat while still fitting into Federal guidelines with the “Pick 3” campaign that was launched in 2019
- Ten schools donating wrapped and unopened food to a local food bank. Approximately 24,000 pounds of food are donated each school year which includes 35,260 cartons of milk
- All schools sustaining a recycling rate of 50 percent or higher, with twelve schools higher than 70 percent