Success Story: Secondary Learning Center

  • School District: Renton
    School Location: Unincorporated King County
    Began participating in the Green Schools Program: February 2013
    Level One of the Green Schools Program: May 2014 

     Waste Reduction and Recycling (Level One)

    • The school increased its recycling rate from 20 percent to 81 percent.
    • In 2013, Secondary Learning Center began to collect recyclable materials in its lunchroom.
    • In 2014, the school piloted a collection program for compostable materials in the lunchroom, kitchen, and culinary arts program.
    • Custodial staff and student Green Team waste reduction and recycling efforts helped the school reduce its monthly garbage volume from 33.6 cubic yards to 16.8 cubic yards, and increase its monthly recycling volume from 16.8 cubic yards to 67.2 cubic yards. In addition, three 96-gallon compost carts were filled every week with compostable materials from the pilot.
    • Recycling containers were located next to garbage containers in each classroom and office space.
    • In 2013, Cara Mothersbaugh’s sustainable science class participated in a King County Green Team workshop. The students created a video that aired during homeroom to educate students and staff on the importance of waste reduction and recycling as well as what can and can’t be recycled.
    • The student Green Team created a three-dimensional poster to help students properly sort recyclable and compostable materials in the lunchroom. 
    • A lunchroom share table was set up for unwanted and unopened items to be redistributed.
    • Student Green Team members monitored lunchroom garbage, recycling, and composting containers to ensure proper recycling and waste disposal. 
    • The school replaced plastic-wrapped utensils and straws with unwrapped plastic utensils and straws.
    • A policy allowing a maximum of 500 copies per month for each staff member encouraged staff to limit use of paper hand-outs and to make double-sided copies.
    • The school reduced paper use by communicating with parents and staff through an electronic bulletin.
    • Staff members placed unused or unneeded supplies in the staff supply room so that they can be used by other staff.
    • Foam soap dispensers were used in restrooms.


    For more information about the school’s conservation achievements and participation in the Green Schools Program, contact:

    Cara Mothersbaugh, science teacher
    Don Hummel, custodian
    Jonathan Stine, program manager, district Energy Management Office
     Secondary Learning Center

    Secondary Learning Center

    Cafeteria recycling station with poster created by student Green Team