2023 Waste Not Washington School Awards

In 2023, the Waste Not Washington School Awards awarded a total of $130,091.61 to fund 36 projects impacting 41 schools statewide. Winning projects focused on switching from single-use serviceware in cafeterias, to implementing school compost programs, to creating food-share tables to prevent wasted food. We are excited to announce the following Waste Not Washington School Awards winners, and we can’t wait to hear back about their successful projects.

The logo for the Waste Not Washington School Awards

West Valley School District - Yakima County
The West Valley School District in Yakima is transitioning from single-use foam trays to reusable trays to serve its 1,000 breakfasts and 2,800 lunches daily. Five out of 10 schools have already transitioned, and now Ahtanum Valley Elementary School, Wide Hollow Elementary School, Cottonwood Elementary School, and Mountainview Elementary School are making the transition.

Cascade School District - Chelan County
The Cascade Reusable Silverware, Bowls, and Bulk Serving Units Project replaces the currently used single-use disposable items in the cafeterias of the Cascade School District. The project aims to reduce waste sent to the landfill and contamination within other waste-diversion opportunities like recycling and composting. Alpine Lakes Elementary School, Cascade High School, Icicle River Middle School, and Peshastin-Dryden Elementary School will make this transition in the upcoming year.

Shoreline Public School District - King County
Shoreline Public School District is expanding and enhancing its Sustainable Lunchroom Waste Program to reduce the use of single-use trays and plastic utensils to divert lunchroom waste from the landfill. The goal will be to create a standardized practice at the district’s K-5 and K-8 elementary schools that replaces single-use plastic utensils and disposable serviceware with durable, stainless-steel flatware and light-weight, quick-dry, and multi-compartment durable trays. Briarcrest Elementary School, Brookside Elementary School, Cascade K-8 School, Echo Lake Elementary School, Highland Terrace Elementary School, Lake Forest Park Elementary School, Meridian Park Elementary School, Parkwood Elementary School, Ridgecrest Elementary School, and Syre Elementary School are included in the program.

Brownsville Elementary School - Kitsap County
Brownsville Elementary
is a STEM school working on a rigorous recycling program with a “no wasted food” agenda. With this funding, it will create an Ecology Club student organization that will teach students to reduce food waste by taking only what they’ll eat from the salad bar, correctly recycling in the school cafeteria, and creating compost.

Washougal School District - Clark County
Last year, Washougal School District expanded its efforts to reduce its waste and prevent landfilling used milk cartons by purchasing milk dispensing machines and reusable drinkware for each of its school’s cafeterias. This award will continue efforts by adding additional machines to Canyon Creek Middle School/Cape Horn Skye Elementary School, Hathaway Elementary School, Jemtegaard Middle School/Columbia River Gorge Elementary School, Washougal High School, and Gause Elementary School.

Cedar Tree Montessori - Whatcom County
Cedar Tree Montessori
is committed to adding water dispensers on its campus that can be used to fill reusable water bottles. This project is part of its school's community commitment to reduce its carbon footprint.

Chehalis School District - Lewis County
Chehalis Middle School
in the Chehalis School District is replacing its expanded polystyrene trays with reusable trays before the upcoming polystyrene ban. The district is also purchasing reusable silverware and magnetic trash can lids to replace single-use plastics with durable trays and silverware at Lintott Elementary School and Smith Elementary School  

Chiawana High School - Franklin County
Chiawana High School is restarting and expanding its recycling program that was discontinued due to COVID. The project will support students with disabilities participating in work-based learning opportunities and will work to create awareness of waste and the benefits of recycling throughout the school.

Decatur High School - King County
Decatur High School is temporarily transitioning away from polystyrene trays to compostable trays until its school is remodeled and has the capacity to wash reusable serving trays. The school’s Nutrition Services has received quotes for trays accepted at Cedar Grove, and the school is working closely with the King County Green Schools Program to develop waste stations, signage, and educational resources for students and staff.

Granite Falls High School - Snohomish County
Agroecology and Sustainability is a new course for juniors and seniors at Granite Falls High School. This year, the class chose to create a composting system for the lunch waste created by 550 students. The class will also create posters and educational displays for the school and lunchroom to teach other students how to compost, what items belong in which bin, and the benefits of composting.

Newport Heights Elementary - King County
Newport Heights Elementary
is restarting and expanding its school garden and on-site compost system by creating a rainwater collection system, a place to store garden tools, and a covered teaching area. It will provide hands-on learning about growing food and the organics cycle, which will support waste reduction and anti-contamination efforts in the cafeteria.

Peshastin-Dryden Elementary SchoolAlpine Lakes Elementary School - Chelan County
Peshastin-Dryden Elementary School
and Alpine Lakes Elementary School are introducing students to resource management and sustainability through a look at lunchroom food waste and the composting cycle. The "Closing the Loop on Lunch Curriculum" program will align with a district-wide food waste diversion program.

Pioneer Middle School - Mason County
Pioneer Middle School
will divert campus waste into a composting system to support waste reduction and project based learning at Pioneer School District in Mason County. Composting processes will be guided by information from science experiments and monitored and maintained by STEM classes. Garden Club will address next-generation science standards and common core standards in math and science.

Prosser School District - Benton County
Prosser School District
is implementing a food sharing and composting program and expanding its recycling program, district-wide. The food sharing tables will prevent food waste and help reduce with food insecurity. The composting program will repurpose food waste into a valuable resource used in the Prosser School District’s greenhouse. 

Redmond Middle School - King County
Redmond Middle School’s “Farm to Table” Sustainability Project is a joint venture between the school's culinary arts classes, science classes, and Green Team Club. The goal of the project is to teach sustainability in action to the students and greater community through the practice of composting and the use of a school greenhouse.

Squalicum High Schools - Whatcom County
As part of community-wide sustainability initiatives, Bellingham Public Schools is moving toward all reusable materials in its cafeterias to reduce waste and improve the health of its community and our planet. With this award, Squalicum High School will move to durable serviceware in its cafeteria.

Tonasket School District - Okanogan County
Tonasket Elementary, Middle, and High Schools
are building their composting and recycling capabilities. They are creating an integrated program throughout their schools to teach students about the importance of waste reduction and recycling. The program will also highlight the potential career opportunities in recycling and waste diversion.