Zero Waste

BPS strives to reduce the amount of waste generated by building occupants and reduce the amount of non-recyclable waste that is hauled to and disposed of in landfills or incineration facilities. 

BPS is committed to Zero Waste because:

1. Recycling is BPS district policy and Massachusetts state law. Review the Boston Public Schools Recycling and Zero Waste Policy.

2. Recycling is free for BPS, while trash is an operational cost for BPS. School recycling is picked up curbside for free by Boston Public Works Department as part of the PWD Residential Recycling program. School trash is picked up at a cost by Capitol Waste as part of the BPS hauling contract. Increasing recycling while reducing trash decreases BPS operating costs, funds which could otherwise be directed to teaching and learning.

3. School zero waste programs mitigate clutter. Clutter attracts pests, creates asthma triggers like dust, and takes up valuable school space that could otherwise be used for teaching, learning, and organized storage. 

4. School zero waste programs create hands-on learning and engagement opportunities for students and staff. A successful zero waste program incorporates education and collaboration.

5. The principles of zero waste – redesign/rethink, reduce, repurpose, reuse, recycle, rot – teach us responsibility for our school and our waste, and engages us in the three E’s of sustainability: Equity, Environment, and Economy. 


  • Review the Boston Public Schools Recycling and Zero Waste Policy.

    Use the BPS Zero Waste Guide to establish and operate your school recycling program. The guide outlines zero waste best practices and offers tips, contacts, and equipment to run a successful recycling program at your school.

  • Per the BPS Recycling and Zero Waste Policy, every school must have a Zero Waste Coordinator.

    Interested in serving as your school’s Zero Waste Coordinator? Fill out the BPS Healthy & Sustainable Schools Interest Form. Opportunities include:

    • School Zero Waste Coordinator
    • Member of the district BPS Zero Waste Committee
    • Member of the district Healthy School Environment Committee, a sub-committee of the District Wellness Council

    Upon filling out the form, Katherine Walsh will contact you to confirm next steps. Thank you for your sustainability leadership!

  • Single-stream Recycling
    Most plastic, paper, and aluminum products can be recycled and picked up curbside by the Public Works Department. Learn more about what can and cannot be accepted.

    Was your curb-side recycling not picked up? Call City of Boston 311 or report through the 311 App. PWD will be notified immediately of your missed pick-up. Indicate your school, your address, and the issue you had with a missed pick-up.

    Cardboard Recycling
    All corrugated cardboard must be separated from the single-stream recycling, flattened and stacked for pickup. Cardboard is regularly collected by BPS Recycling Staff, separately from PWD’s curbside single-stream pick-up. Contact Conroy Oates, 617-828-0712, if your school needs an additional cardboard pickup or there were issues with the collection.

    Metal Recycling
    Contact Wallace Morant, or 617-293-3905, to recycle metal furniture or scrap items.

    Yard Waste
    Prior to accumulating yard waste, contact Mike DiAngelis, or 617-293-3883 to schedule a pick-up. All schoolyard waste must be bagged in compostable brown bags or in plastic barrels. All branches need to be cut into small pieces and bundled.

    Contact Wallace Morant, or 617-293-3905, if you have questions or concerns related to the trash and recycling dumpsters at your school.

  • If your school needs recycling equipment (boxes, barrels, or carts), complete and submit the BPS Zero Waste Equipment Order form. BPS Recycling staff will deliver the equipment. Review the following flow chart to understand the optimal school equipment system.

    Schools are highly encouraged to register with The Green Team, sponsored by MassDEP. Green Team schools can submit recycling equipment requests and receive free equipment from MassDEP.

  • Does your school have a clutter challenge?

    Consider launching a decluttering effort at your school. Use the BPS Declutter and Green Out Guide to assist your efforts.

    Decluttering Benefits:

    •  Decrease in pest incidents
    •  Decrease in asthma triggers such as dust
    •  Improved air quality
    •  Increase in available school space for academics, enrichment, and organized storage
    •  Improved access for daily custodial work
    •  Improved cleanliness and “look” of the school for school community and visitors

    Reuse: School Supplies
    Consider setting-up a reuse station in your school or contact Katherine Walsh, or 617-635-9576, if your school has unwanted school supplies that can be reused, redistributed, or donated.

    Books and Curriculum
    Please contact the BPS Office of Academics & Professional Learning if you have unwanted books or curriculum.

    Did you know a number of our schools have More Than Words donation boxes for books/DVDs/CDs/games? Boxes are currently located at the Edison, Boston Community Leadership Academy/New Mission High School, and Kilmer Upper. If your school is interested in a More Than Words box, please contact Katherine Walsh. Learn more about More Than Words from this Boston Globe article.

    All furniture waste must be reviewed by BPS Facilities Management for reuse, redistribution, or proper disposal. Contact Louise Donner, or 617-212-6375, to schedule a furniture review.

    Clothing & Textiles
    Did you know that 95% of worn and torn textiles can be recycled, but 85% ends up in landfills instead? The Bay State Textiles School Box Program addresses this gap by:
    1. Creating awareness about the problem of textile waste;
    2. Providing education on acceptable items for textile recycling;
    3. Generating revenue for the school.

    A donation box is placed on school property, the box is serviced weekly by Bay State Textiles, and a rebate check, based on the weight of donations, is disbursed monthly to the school. The school receives $100/ton of recycled textiles, or $0.05/pound. Each box holds 300-500 pounds.

    In addition to generating revenue for the school, the school box program provides a unique and engaging student learning opportunity on issues such as recycling and reuse, economics, marketing, and community service. 

    Did you know that a number of our schools already have Bay State Textile drop-off containers where you can donate clean and dry textiles? Please donate your worn and torn textiles to Bay State Textiles, whose containers can be found at New Mission/BCLA, Mozart, Ohrenberger, Kilmer Upper, Kilmer Lower, Bates, Henderson Upper, Henderson Lower, UP Academy Holland, UP Academy Dorchester.

    BPS seeks to expand its textiles container locations. If your school is interested in having a Bay State Textiles container on school property, contact Katherine Walsh, or 617-635-9576.

  • BPS OIIT manages the collection of old and recyclable IT equipment such as printers, monitors, computers, and TV’s, and ink and toner cartridges. Complete Form 57 & submit to OIIT. OIIT will schedule a vendor to pick-up the items. 

  • All hazardous waste and universal waste (lamps, batteries, mercury-containing devices, and pesticides) must be labeled according to the type of waste, must be labeled with the date of generation, and must be stored in the school’s accumulation location. Contact Jeff Lane, or 617-293-3898, to schedule a pick-up.

  • Zero Waste Boston is an initiative to transform Boston into a zero waste city through planning, policy, and community engagement.


Facilities Management
1216 Dorchester Ave.
Boston, MA 02125