More than half of school waste can be diverted from the landfill by recycling, reuse, composting, and waste reduction methods. The City provides free recycling, but it is important to recycle right to prevent contamination that may result in the recycling being landfilled and charges on the school's utility bill. Educate students, teachers, and custodians about how to recycle right using the City's What Goes Where resources. 


New for 2019!  School posters for recycling, compost and trash are available from the City at  To set up or change services, have the school facility staff contact Recology at (650) 967-3034 or for technical assistance to set up or refresh food waste composting programs, recycling programs, or arrange school year-end clean outs. 

Compost Poster

Paper Recycling Poster

Containers Recycling Poster

Trash Poster 

Elementary Schools

The elementary school program is introduced to students, teachers, and custodians through a School Assembly and Waste Free Lunch Day event organized by teachers and students. In addition, the school receives the environmental curriculum developed by the State of California. In May 2007, the Mountain View-Whisman School District stopped using styrofoam lunch trays in favor of reusable plastic trays, which serve the same purpose--without all the waste.

High Schools

Mountain View High School participated in the City's Clean Organics Composting Pilot in the Spring of 2011. The Environmental Club took the lead on this project to replace polystyrene (foam) lunch trays with compostable trays (paid for with their own funds). Environmental Club students guided other students on how to correctly sort their lunch scraps and trays from other recyclables and trash. The containers were placed in the cafeteria and nearby outdoor areas. Environmental Club students checked the containers daily and provided a report listing quantity, contaminants (trash or recycling in the compostables), and calculated a diversion rate.

Thanks to the school and other businesses participating in the pilot, the composting program is now available through Recology Mountain View. It requires schools and businesses to switch to compostable foodware, and eliminate polystyrene foam service ware and other non-compostable plastics.

See below for a list of composting, recycling and trash services provided to schools and other businesses.

End-of-Year Clean-Out

At the end of the school year, we can help set up "clean out" services for teachers and facility management or provide referrals for handling the school's e-waste. The City's exclusive hauler provides all hauling services, including roll-off boxes for construction or yard waste, which are also recycled at the City's SMaRT Station. For more information, please contact Recology at (650) 967-3034. 


  • Clean Paper or Newspaper
  • Glass Bottles and Jars 
  • Aluminum and Metal Cans and Lids
  • Plastic Bottles, Jugs and Tubs only.  No caps, lids okay.
  • Beverage and soup cartons for products such as juice, milk, soy and grain milk, box wine, cream, egg substitutes.
  • Cardboard (empty and flattened).  No plastic packaging or straps.
  • No Plastic Bags or Wrap

Food Scraps (Composting)

  • Food scraps and food-soiled paper
  • Pizzeria Take-Out Boxes (no frozen food boxes)
  • Food-Soiled Paper
  • Compostable Foodware
  • Compostable Cups (marked PLA)
  • Paper plates, napkins, paper cups, paper towels (no facial tissues)
  • Fast food paper boxes and napkins (no plastic straws, lids, sauce packets) 
  • Paper egg cartons
  • No Plastic of any Kind

Trash (Landfill)

  • Paper contaminated with paint
  • Frozen Food Boxes (pizza, butter, cream cheese, meals)
  • Styrofoam (polystyrene foam products or packaging, e.g. foam egg cartons or packaging blocks)
  • Plastic Bags & Wrap
  • Frozen Food Cartons
  • Plastic Cups / Straws
  • Any recyclable still wrapped in plastic bags or wraps like newspapers, magazines, junk mail, cushioned mailers, tyvex envelopes, or cardboard soda cases.

School Environmental Education Links

K-12 Education for Teachers

Books for Preschoolers:

  • Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel and Alexendra Colombo
  • Why Should I Recycle by Jen Green
  • The 3 R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle by Nuria Roca
  • The Day the Trash Came Out to Play by David M. Beadle