Foam Tray Recycling at Westwood Elementary

Westwood Elementary School in Stockton, California launched a successful foam lunch tray recycling program with input from students, teachers and the custodial staff. Through foam tray recycling, the school has reduced its cafeteria waste and trash collection fees by 20%. Plus, recycling has taught the students cooperation, problem-solving and environmental responsibility.

Launching the program involved setting up condiment and recycling stations in the cafeteria, and coming up with a way to transport the trays to the recycling facility. Student volunteers man a condiment station to help keep lunch trays clean and reduce condiment waste. After lunch, students raise their napkins and utensils to signal they are ready to clean their trays. They are then excused to the tray cleaning station, where they clean and stack the trays with assistance from student volunteers. The trays are packed in their original boxes and dropped off at a local Dart recycling facility. Thanks to the competitive spirit among the students, 90% of the school’s lunch trays are now being diverted from landfills.

See Westwood Elementary School’s recycling program in action, above.