Keep America Beautiful Awards

Congratulations to the California Department of Education, CalTrans, and CalRecycle for receiving awards at the Keep America Beautiful national conference. Keep California Beautiful greatly appreciates the partnership and support of all three organizations over the years!

Registration Open for 2020!

register-nowfor the February
K-12 Recycling Challenge

FREE for all California K-12 Schools!

Foodservice Packaging Institute

Foodservice Packaging Institute

K-12 Challenge on KXTV

Kudos to Kevin Barnes for his many great years of service to Bakersfield and
Keep Bakersfield Beautiful!


Awards Received

K-12 Recycling Challenge
GuideStar Gold Participant

GuideStar Keep California Beautiful

Television Coverage


K-12 Recycling on KCRA Morning News

K-12 on Good Day Sacramento

K-12 on Good Day Sacramento


Participating Schools

The 2020 K-12 Recycling Challenge has Ended!


The data entry period is from March 1st through March 7th.


2020 Competition Updates

Cash Prizes for Materials Categories and Winners as a District
This year will include the ability to register all district schools at once.

Changes for Feb 2020 Competition

1. All schools or districts must register themselves using our school database
Note: Prior schools need to re-register for each year.

2. Schools track data throughout the month and enter once after competition ends.

3. Competition categories for 2020 for total weight and per capita recycling rates






Mixed Recyclables (Single Stream)

Total Materials Recycled

District Total Mixed Recyclables (Single Stream)

District Total Weight (Recycling + Compostables)


Start Date – 2/1/2020 End Date – 2/29/2020

All data entered by school or district admin by noon PT on Saturday 3/7/2020

Schools or Districts can send spreadsheet with fields provided by KCB or enter online

School or District Admin must submit verification documents by Saturday 3/7/2020

Schools are encouraged to submit documentation at registration

Verification documents can include:

Proof of Recycling Services Provided – Can submit at time of registration

Weight Tickets for CRV at end of competition – can submit at end of competition with final totals for February

Contact us with any questions at [email protected].

Yours in recycling,
The K-12 KCB Team


Congratulations to Winners of the
2019 K-12 Challenge!

Total Materials Recycled

Paper Recycled

Cardboard Recycled

CRV Recycled

Lunch Trays Recycled

Cartons Recycled

Mixed Recyclables

Compostables Diverted

Scrap Metal Recycled

District Totals


Map of 2019 Participating Schools



The California Recycling Challenge is a friendly competition with cash prizes for winning schools and a benchmarking tool for K-12 school recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their school location only. Over a one month period, schools report recycling and trash data which are then ranked according to who collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables.

With each week’s reports and rankings, participating schools watch how their results fluctuate against other schools and use this to rally their school communities to reduce and recycle more.

The competition is conducted on a “Per Capita” basis to allow schools/districts of all sizes to participate. The program is intended to include the faculty, staff, students, and custodial staff. The competition was conducted during the months of March.

Like “RecycleMania”, “Greensylvania”, and the “Ohio School Recycling Challenge” on which the California K-12 Schools Recycling Challenge has been based, we hope to not only generate enthusiasm for recycling but to teach the K-12 students how recycling benefits their school, their community, and the environment, and what is at stake if we do not increase our recycling rate and divert additional waste from the landfills.

Overall Goals for California K-12 Schools Recycling Challenge

1. Have a fair and friendly recycling competition.
2. Increase recycling participation by students, staff and community members.
3. Heighten awareness of schools’ waste management and recycling programs.
4. Have the competition serve as a catalyst for K-12 schools and/or school districts to build and expand waste reduction programs.
5. Organize this event successfully so it can be repeated and possibly expanded to other schools and states in the future.
6. Educate the students about California’s Goal of reaching 75% Recycling by 2020.

Why Is There a Need for California K-12 Schools Recycling Challenge?

With over 9,890 public schools organized in over 1,000 districts to serve more than 6.3 million students across California, K-12 schools consume large amounts of resources and generate much solid waste. Add on another 600,000 students in private schools and all the teachers, staff and administration employed by all schools and it is safe to say that one out of six Californians is “At School” each day. Schools can help communities reduce their waste, while saving money and teaching kids valuable lessons. Whether a school has an extensive waste reduction program or is just getting basic recycling collections off the ground, experience has shown that all schools have potential to further reduce the amount of resources they consume and dispose of. Many school districts have been successful in improving their economic and environmental performance through the implementation of waste reduction initiatives!

The California K-12 Schools Recycling Challenge provides a tool for school district recycling coordinators, teachers, student green teams and waste management professionals to engage their school community in recycling and waste reduction in a fun and friendly way. Environmental messages cannot always motivate action by themselves. Students love a competition: challenging the classroom next door, or joining forces to beat the cross district rival helps drive their desire to be part of the team. In the process, participation in the competition familiarizes students with a school’s recycling programs and hopefully instills in them a lifelong habit.

Throughout this site, you will find links to resources and information about successful waste prevention, composting, and recycling programs in schools throughout California.

California K-12 Schools Recycling Challenge Administration

This pilot project is being developed and administered by Keep California Beautiful in partnership with Keep America Beautiful, California Resource Recovery Association, California Refuse Recycling Council and program sponsors American Chemistry Council, Dart, Carton Council, Genpak, Edgar Institute, Price Disposal and our web developer Mobius Intelligent Systems.

Keep the Cap On