Walnut Grove Secondary students pushed for a better recycling program and last year they and Fort Langley Elementary piloted a program that will now expand to all Langley School District schools.
The program was unveiled at the Oct. 23 school board meeting.
The district and Langley Township have teamed up to create a new program that will divert much more from the landfill.
"Metro Vancouver is quickly running out of landfill space," explained Debbie Sansome, the school district's energy and environment director at the board meeting.
Schools will retain their for-deposit recyclables program which are sources of revenue.
But school will see an expansion ofrecycling programs for other types of waste, particularly food scraps and organic matter.
Metro Vancouver wants to see 70 per cent or more of materials recycled or diverted from the landfill within the next few years.
This program is structured to divert about 80 per cent in the coming years.
"We have asked the schools to create green teams," Sansome said at the Oct. 23 school board meeting.
The program is believed to be one of the first of its kind in the Lower Mainland if not the province. It features three distinct waste streams - a green bin for food scraps and organic waste, a blue bin for recyclables, and a black bin for everything else.
The Township did a garbage audit on Walnut Grove Secondary and Fort Langley Elementary waste, and found that 70 per cent was recyclable or compostable.
"I feel pretty proud that something that we started here at our local school is now affecting people all over our district and changing things for the better," said WGSS student River Leuba.
The district will spend $50,000 on bins for the schools but the costs are expected to be offset by the lower tipping fees.
Metro Vancouver plans to increase its costs for waste disposal (tipping fees) in the future.
"The program is designed to avoid future increases in district costs through the diversion of waste while educating our students in environmental awareness," Sansome said after the meeting. "It also allows the district to get in line with the commercial and residential recycling programs already in place within the Township and City, reinforcing the notion of recycling from home to school to community."
Custodians will be asked to monitor the amount of organic/food waste to help with the scheduling of pickups so it doesn't cause odor or pest issues.
Sansome told the school trustees the program is not intended to cause extra workload for staff since these materials already have to be dealt with in schools. Students are expected to be active in the program.
Information about the new recycling program has been sent around to schools.
"We do have some resistance," she said, adding that was anticipated.
The district has an introductory video for staff and families to explain the program and encourage participation (http: // youtu.be/pLKw7jv8BB8).