Cincinnati Public Schools diverted about 400 tons of waste from landfills in 2015-16, thanks to recycling and composting efforts by CPS' students and staff.
That's up from the 375 tons of waste diverted from landfills in 2014-15. And, since August 2013, CPS students have recycled 732 tons of waste. Imagine — that's the weight of 120 African elephants!
Since 2012, a program called Sustainability in Action (SIA) has supported CPS in its waste-reduction efforts in its schools. SIA is a comprehensive environmental program developed by Keep Cincinnati Beautiful (KCB) — an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful — and it offers students and staff daily interaction with green behaviors and encourages them to continue these green practices at home.
SIA's focus areas are waste reduction, energy and water conservation, environmental education, and Green Teams. CPS also partners with groups for other "green" efforts, such as the Metropolitan Sewer District (reducing stormwater runoff) and Duke Energy (reducing energy use).
"Walnut Hills Students Tackle Environmental Issues" (see bottom of second column in Cincinnati Enquirer article, March 2015): Students team up with Sunny Delight Beverage Co. executives and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful as part of a pilot Environmental Mentorship program that blends science curriculum with research and communication skills.
Fun facts about how our schools stack up in recycling:
Keep Cincinnati Beautiful is a nonprofit organization that decreases litter and blight, promotes sustainability, and cultivates community pride through education and beautification via grants, providing cleanup supplies and more. KCB helps residents improve their neighborhoods and the environment by managing innovative programs and resources, leveraging partnerships and organizing volunteer events.
All this recycling, composting and sustainability education is taking place inside school buildings that model environmentally friendly designs. Green features were added to all CPS school buildings during the districtwide $1-billion Facilities Master Plan (2002-2014), in which all schools were either newly built or fully renovated, many to LEED Silver or higher standards. LEED certification stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Sustainability in Action
To increase environmental consciousness within schools, the SIA program started with six schools and grew to include all 55 CPS schools. Since the 2012 pilot year, the program has shifted from concentrating on a small group of highly involved schools to creating a cohesive districtwide sustainability plan. The goal is for all CPS schools to operate on the same level in terms of green behaviors, while developing relationships with the CPS administration, principals, building engineers, staff and students to build support for each school's sustainability program.
KCB, Rumpke Recycling and CPS rolled out single-stream recycling program (with all recyclable items collected together, then separated later at a recycling plant) in every school. All schools now are equipped with the proper receptacles, supplies and information to make recycling successful and cost effective.
Moving forward, KCB and its partners will follow up with all schools to help take them to the next level by adding student Green Teams, composting, gardens and more.
Sustainability in Action CPS newsletter:
2016-17 school year:
Links to Helpful Information About Recycling:
I don't have a recycling bin. Where can I get one?
City of Cincinnati
What can I do with difficult-to-recycle items (such as batteries and light bulbs)?
Hamilton County Recycles
Recycling for apartments or condos:
Hamilton County Recycles
Educational Resources & Information:
Rumpke Clean and Green
City of Cincinnati's Recycling Hotline: (513) 352-3200
Hamilton County Recycling & Solid Waste District Recycling Hotline: (513) 946-7766