Waste Not Washington School Awards

The application process for the 2022-2023 award cycle will open Monday Aug. 1 and close Friday, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m. 

The Waste Not Washington School Awards promote sustainability and reward school efforts to reduce waste, recycle, and teach environmental curriculum. We have $100,000 budgeted for this program for each year, with each award providing up to $5,000.

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 celebrate Washington schools for their environmental efforts and help fund their waste reduction projects.

Join our email list to stay informed about the Waste Not Washington School Awards program.

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

A crucial issue that children face is the uncertainty of the world they will inherit. Schools that teach and practice sustainable behavior are important role models to children and their communities. These schools provide students knowledge and skills to understand and respond to a rapidly changing world.

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

As students learn to take ownership of the future and hone their abilities to make improvements, they in turn will model leadership behavior and find opportunities to educate their fellow students, families, and communities about the impacts of waste. 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.

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.

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.


All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on the date listed to be considered for the corresponding award cycle:

  • 2022- 2023: Friday Sept. 30, 2022

Online submissions are strongly encouraged (see links above). All mail applications should be addressed to:

Heather Church
Washington Department of Ecology

Email: heather.church@ecy.wa.gov

Standard mail (USPS) 
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA

All other mail carriers 
300 Desmond Dr. SE
Lacey, WA