The Black Hawk County Solid Waste Management Commission encourages waste reduction from the cities and counties within the landfill’s service area to reduce the amount of materials entering the Black Hawk County Sanitary Landfill. The resources on this page can help you green your facility!
Green Your Facility!
Schools and educational centers can benefit economically (while helping the environment) when you take steps to “green” your site!
Perform a waste audit
- Everyone makes trash – it’s just a fact of life! Assessing the types of waste and amounts generated can help you determine ways to reduce the amount of waste that your school facility generates
Recycle cardboard, office paper, newspaper, cans, and more!
- Consider having an additional dumpster placed on site specifically for recyclables. Collection fees may apply.
- Check with your garbage hauler to see if they can also provide recycling services.
- Contact a commercial recycling company.
- Check with your City Clerk about recycling items through your city’s municipal program. Some cities with curbside collections may also be willing to pick up from their schools.
- Customize these recycling sign templates for your school office, classrooms, or lunch room!
Provide recycling during school events and fundraisers
- Green your facility AND events too! The Black Hawk County Solid Waste Management Commission has portable recycling frames, bags and cleaning supplies that can be borrowed for your next event to collect plastic bottles, 5 cent deposit containers, and paper.
Start a package recycling program
- Create a Terracycle Brigade to recycle certain types of juice and applesauce pouches, snack packaging, chip bags, and other difficult to recycle items that are typically found in kids’ sack lunches.
Reduce school food waste
- Conduct a food waste audit and learn ways to maintain a sustainable balance in reducing food insecurity and waste through the Food Waste Minimization Toolkit for Iowa Schools.
- Try these strategies to help prevent wasted food through school meals.
- Consider working with a local company to collect food waste, napkins, and other paper products at school to send to a composting facility or biodigester. A variety of companies also sell compostable and biodegradable tableware that can be collected by these companies.
- Download or order these “Fight Food Waste” posters for your elementary, middle or high school free of cost, along with other food waste resources available through the Iowa Waste Reduction Center.
- Learn more about large scale food waste reduction.
- Check out these Community Composting Resources from the Northeast Recycling Council
Encourage “green” sack lunches too!
- A waste-free lunch program is a process of educating students, parents, and school staff about the use of reusable food and drink containers, utensils, and napkins. Waste-free programs discourage the use of disposable packaging, such as plastic bags, juice boxes and pouches, paper napkins, and disposable utensils.
- The Waste Trac Education Team has created a
Low Waste Lunch Guide for you to use:
- To encourage cold lunch kids at your school to pack less garbage.
- Prior to your next off-site field trip, since many area parks are now considering “Carry-in, Carry-Out” garbage policies. Challenge your students to count the pieces of garbage in their sack lunch, and then reduce that number next time!
- When packing for your family’s next picnic or camping trip!
Become an “Eco-School”
- Do kids and administrators at your school know how much energy or water they use on a daily basis? The National Wildlife Federation has assessment tools available to help school identify inefficiencies and make decisions about ways to help your school become more sustainable!
Become a “Green” School
- The Center for Green Schools (through the U.S. Green Building Council) supports green school efforts by pre-K-12 schools and districts to achieve success in:
- Reducing environmental impacts & costs
- Improving student health & performance
- Increasing sustainability literacy
- Working towards the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools award program.
- Project Learning Tree’s program offers training for adults, tips on starting a student-driven GreenSchools program, how to obtain equipment and collect data, and ways to empower your students to design and lead an action project that uses their STEM skills on topics such as waste and recycling, energy, water, and environmental quality.
- Green Your Schoolyard with resources from the Children and Nature Network
Use less toxic products
- The EPA’s Safer Choice Standard certifies products that are safer for human health and the environment. Explore their interactive map or use their search box to find a wide variety of Safer Choice products for your school, sports venues, office buildings, and more.
Help your students organize a Catalog Cancelling Challenge
- Get students excited with this fun challenge! Save water, save energy, and reduce waste – all by simply cancelling unsolicited catalogs at school and in students’ homes (with their parents’ permission). Check out these videos for tips on getting your school involved!
Calculate your footprint
- Students can evaluate their impact on the planet based on their family’s home size, vehicle, the food choices they make, and energy conservation practices that they use at home with these ecological footprint calculators:
Apply for project funding through these grant programs!
- The Iowa Department of Natural Resources manages the Solid Waste Alternative Program (SWAP) grant program and provides financial assistance reduce the amount of solid waste generated and landfilled in Iowa.
- The Iowa Recycling Association maintains a list of upcoming grant opportunities
- Keep Iowa Beautiful offers several grant opportunities
- The Waste Trac Education Team can help teachers, group leaders, and individuals learn about the wide world of waste, recycling, composting, repurposing, and more in a variety of ways. They can help you:
- Schedule a program or tour for your students or school group
- Watch hundreds of videos, with playlists sorted by topic
- Access earth-friendly and waste-related resources and curriculum
- Learn about upcoming events, current news, eco-tips, and view photos through their Facebook page
- Find fun reuse crafts for a wide variety of items on their Pinterest board