Waste Not Washington School Awards 2020–2021

The Waste Not Washington School Awards promote sustainability and reward school efforts to reduce waste, recycle, and teach environmental curriculum. We currently have a $50,000 budget for this program, with each award providing up to $5,000 in award funds.

We encourage schools to be environmental stewards for their students and communities. Across the state, schools are finding ways to carry out their educational missions in a less wasteful manner. These awards aim to celebrate Washington schools for their environmental efforts and help fund their sustainability projects.

The Waste Not Washington School Awards help build and improve waste reduction, recycling, and other sustainability programs and curricula in Washington schools.

One of the most crucial issues that children face today is the uncertainty of the world they will inherit. A school that teaches and practices sustainable behavior offers children and the community an important role model. These schools provide students the knowledge and skills to better understand and respond to a rapidly changing world.

Bringing environmental issues into classrooms may be challenging when working within basic education requirements. Waste reduction programs are an opportunity for students to learn about the environmental impacts of materials and waste — including climate impacts. 

In turn, modeling behavior and educating fellow students, family at home, and their community about these impacts provide leadership opportunities as students learn to take ownership of the future and hone their ability to make mprovements. Dedication and support from all members of the school and the greater community are key ingredients for a successful program. Your school can be part of the effort to teach these important principles to tomorrow’s leaders.

Award categories

There are three categories of awards, each with a separate application form.

This award recognizes a school's ongoing efforts to support and expand programs for waste reduction, composting, and recycling.

It is intended to not only recognize a school for past efforts but to support the continuation and future goals of its programs. Ecology may recognize sustainable school programs created and implemented within five years of the application date.

Apply for the Sustainable School Award

This category awards funds to implement school waste reduction and recycling programs. A school can use the funds to:

  • Buy educational aids and equipment for waste reduction/recycling programs. Examples include purchasing reusable utensils/trays/flatware for school cafeterias, installing bulk milk/juice/water dispensers to reduce food waste, hanging waste-reduction and recycling-focused educational signage, begin operating composting equipment, etc.
  • Integrate sustainability lessons into the curriculum to help meet the goals established by the State of Washington Environmental Education Guidelines.

Apply for the Seed Award

This category awards funds to generate newly created and original curricula that:

  • Introduces students, teachers, staff, and administrators to the concepts of waste reduction, composting, recycling, green chemistry, sustainable design, or circular economy.
  • Strives to inspire a sense of environmental stewardship in the students and staff.

All developed materials must be made publicly available through the Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons portal.

Apply for the Creative Curriculum Award


Applications due Jan. 7, 2020

All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021, to be considered for the 2020-2021 award cycle.


Online submissions are strongly encouraged. All mail applications should be addressed to:

Email Standard mail (United States Postal Service) Priority mail (All other carriers)
heather.church@ecy.wa.gov Heather Church
Washington Department of Ecology
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA
Heather Church
Washington Department of Ecology
300 Desmond Dr. SE
Lacey, WA