Zero Waste Schools

The Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Sanitation (DSNY) are collaborating with their partner, Recycling Champions (RCP), to launch Zero Waste Schools. Zero Waste Schools is an innovative and collaborative program whose aim is to divert all recyclable and compostable waste from approximately 100 Zero Waste Schools in five years. Beginning in September 2016 these 100 Zero Waste Schools, along two separate collection routes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, will be set up as models for recycling, organics collection, reduction, and reuse. The goal is to expand upon Zero Waste School by the best practices learned from the 100 schools, citywide.

Zero Waste Schools - Overview
Zero Waste Schools - List

For Principals
For Teachers
For Sustainability Coordinators
For Custodian Engineers

Parent & Caregiver Guide - English
Parent & Caregiver Guide - Spanish
Parent & Caregiver Guide - French
Parent & Caregiver Guide - Bengali
Parent & Caregiver Guide - Chinese


All schools are required to recycle in accordance with the New York City Recycling Law and Mayoral directives. Chancellor’s Regulation A-850 prescribes how schools should implement recycling plans, including the principal’s appointment of a Sustainability Coordinator from school-based staff, who can lead recycling efforts and will be the point person for sustainability related initiatives

The Office of Sustainability collaborates with the Department of Sanitation on a daily basis to provide recycling information, disposal guidelines, free promotional materials, speakers and field trip ideas. DSNY's website provides links to free stuff, composting resources, and student activities.

The DOE and DSNY have partnered with GrowNYC to create the Recycling Champions Program, which provides outreach coordinators to work in the school with Sustainability Coordinators on how to set up and improve the school's recycling program.

Organics Collection

The Organic Collection program was piloted in 2012-2013 in 90 public schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island, diverting over 490 tons of food waste. In 2013-2014, the program expanded within those boroughs to total over 360 schools. 

The NYC Organics Collection Program is currently operating in over 720 schools, which represents 40% of DOE schools. Find complete information here.

Click on the link below to see which schools are participating in the Organics Collection Program:


The Sustainability Initiative follows the e-waste disposal guidelines that the DOE Division of Instructional and Information Technology provides through their contractors.

Green Cleaning

Learn how New York City Department of Education procures cleaning products that meet the New York State cleaning requirements and recommendations.