As Dallas celebrates America Recycles Day, Nov. 15, the district continues to increase its recycling efforts in schools and other facilities. In the last five years alone, recycling in the district has increased from 12 percent to over 17 percent, according to Bryant Shaw, manager of the Energy and Sustainability Department. Since 2017, the district has also had a 52% decrease in trash going to the landfill.
In 2015, Dallas ISD replaced the polystyrene trays with compostable plates in the cafeterias, and Shaw said the district hopes to add compostable trash bags and utensils by 2027.
Dallas ISD is making progress to match national recycling numbers, which, according ot the Environmental Protection Agency, has increased 32 percent from 7 percent in 1960.
Many schools throughout the district get their students engaged by participating in learning activities and clubs that promote recycling.
“Some schools have a second generation of families participating—the parents participated in recycling when they were in school and taught their children about recycling. Now their kids are practicing this in the schools,” Shaw said.
If you’re interested in starting a recycling program at your school, you can find that information at the district’s Energy and Sustainability Department page here. It also includes online training, frequently asked questions, a recycling checklist, among other resources.
The EPA also offers free online tools for schools and parents such as packing a waste free lunch to science fair activities centered around recycling, just to name a few. You can access these resources here.
Whether at schools or at home, we can all do our part to protect the environment and recycle. If you need a recycling roll cart or need one replaced, you can request one via the City of Dallas’ Department of Sanitation Services, by accessing their page here.
According to the EPA, some of the things we can do at home include: learning to compost at home; having a yard sale to find homes for clothes, toys, appliances, and books that you no longer need; using old newspapers to wrap fragile materials when moving; and buying reusable mops, rags and sponges when cleaning.
To learn more about recycling, the EPA has extensive tools online at epa.gov/recycle.