Students Recycle Their Way Towards Zero Waste

Eastside Memorial Receives Honors – 2016 Zero Waste Champion, Green Flag Eco-School, & Bright Green Futures Award

AUSTIN, TX – Eastside Memorial High School has been selected as the 2016 Zero-Waste Champions, an award presented by Keep Austin Beautiful in partnership with the Bleed Orange Live Green initiative and Austin Resource Recovery. The award recognizes a local Austin school each year for outstanding efforts to reduce waste.

Their eco-efforts are gaining attention. The school is also being recognized as the first high school in Texas to be awarded the Eco-Schools USA Green Flag from the National Wildlife Federation and is a Bright Green Futures grant recipient. Eastside will be celebrating its many honors this Saturday, October 1st from 11:15am-12pm when they will raise the Eco-Schools USA green flag. After the flag raising, students will be leading tours to highlight their accomplishments.

DATE: Saturday October 1, 2016

TIME: 11:15 am-12:00 pm

LOCATION: Eastside Memorial High School, 1012 Arthur Stiles Rd., Austin, TX, 78721

Thanks to the Bleed Orange Live Green partnership, the school will receive $500 cash prize and 22 tickets for students and their chaperones to attend the UT vs. Iowa State football game on Saturday, October 15th where they will enjoy pre-game festivities and be recognized on the field during the game! Students and administration will also have the opportunity to see waste diversion in action at the Texas Disposal Systems recycling, compost and landfill facilities in Creedmoor, TX.

During the 2015-2016 school year, Keep Austin Beautiful delivered the Generation Zero program, during which environmental systems students conducted a school-wide waste audit and learned about what goes into the blue single-stream recycling bins and what doesn’t. The students learned about the economic aspects of resource management and the benefits of becoming zero waste.

Initial waste audits results indicated that 82% of what was in landfill bins was actually recyclable or compostable. Eastside Memorial High School’s staff and students garnered the support of administration and conducted a school-wide education campaign. Environmental Systems students conducted bilingual recycling education throughout the school, Construction Tech students built 3D display boards to remind the school community about what was recyclable, Occupational Prep students picked up recycling bins from classrooms and put them in the recycling dumpsters, teachers worked with the schools district and Austin Resource Recovery to provide more bins and introduce compost pickup at the school. As a result of the educational efforts, recycling increased from an average of 3,200 pounds per month during the Fall semester to over 4,400 pounds per month in the Spring semester. Eastside Memorial High School became the first high school in AISD to introduce composting, diverting over 10,250 pounds of compost from the landfill once composting was introduced at the school in February 2016.  These students are recycling and composting their way to zero waste!

Eastside Memorial’s achievements illustrate what is possible when community partners – Keep Austin Beautiful, National Wildlife Federation, Texas Disposal Systems, and various city agencies including the Watershed Protection Department and Austin Resource Recovery – collaborate.

Coverage from Fox 7 Austin