classroomSchools are large generators of discards – in the cafeteria, classrooms, staff rooms, and during after-school programs. We believe that, in order to collectively create change in behavior towards waste and waste reduction, we need to educate all people on each school campus on the importance of the 5 Rs:

  1. Refuse (if you don’t need it, just say “no thanks”)
  2. Reduce (use less stuff)
  3. Reuse (reusable water bottle, reusable bags)
  4. Recycle (paper, bottles & cans in the blue bin)
  5. Rot (food scraps, paper towels and other compostables in the green bin)

Students, administrators, staff, and parents can have an outsized community impact, as they can influence their families and people around them to recycle and compost correctly!

The Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) collectively is the largest generator of discards in the City of Napa. Currently NVUSD is on an upward trajectory and now diverts over 50% of waste, with a goal to reach 75%. All NVUSD schools offer recycling and compost collection in the cafeteria and bathrooms. The next step to implement is in classrooms – where paper towels, tissues and food scraps can be collected.

Private schools are also requred to recycle and compost, and many in Napa are already doing a great job.  If your school – public or private – does not have compost collection, or needs assistance to improve the recycling and composting program, please contact us to schedule a waste assessment.

School recycling & composting FAQs:

Who should I contact for a school or class presentation?

For a school and/or class presentations, please contact our School Recycling Specialist via email or phone at 707-258-7864.

How can I get recycling and composting equipment for my school?

Contact our School Recycling Specialist to schedule a waste assessment. A waste assessment is essential to evaluate which equipment your school requires in order to be successful with the program.  The City of Napa supports schools and provides recycling and compost containers at no charge.

We have green compost carts at school but brown at home, does it matter?

NO, both are correct! Green compost carts are given to schools and businesses that generate a lot of food scraps and soiled paper. Napa residents have brown or green compost carts at home for food scraps, soiled paper and yard trimmings.  Over the next decade, you’ll see a transition to all green carts for compost, and California standardizes colors across the entire state.

Can I schedule a tour for my class?

Yes! Tours are an important educational piece. During the tour of our Recycling & Composting Facility, your students, staff, and chaperones will observe firsthand the recycling and composting processes from start to finish. Tours help people understand how we close the loop, and why it is important to dispose of items correctly. In the meantime, here are quick videos on our recycling and composting operations. Please note that there is a limit of 50 people per tour (larger groups can split into multiple tours/days).

Do we donate compost to school gardens?

Yes! We are happy to support and donate compost to school and community gardens. We believe it is important to show students the full food cycle.  Napa’s food scraps and yard trimmings do not travel far (just to our facility in American Canyon)…as we request students to compost their food scraps, compost and school gardens help them see the whole picture and the importance to adding nutrients back into the local soil.

What are the state laws regarding recycling and composting?

Schools need to participate in mandatory recycling and organics (compost) collection due to their size and amount of waste generated on site. Here is a link with details.

To show their commitment, NVUSD has passed two resolutions committed to reducing waste, increasing food waste diversion, and decreasing the usage of “single-use” plastics and packaging.

Additional Resources: