Skip to main content

StopWaste at School

StopWaste works with students, teachers, and school district staff across Alameda County to become leaders in waste prevention and proper recycling and composting at school.

When students take action in waste reduction at school, it opens up a world of learning opportunities about real environmental issues and the impacts every day decisions can have at school and at home. StopWaste offers food waste reduction programs through its Stop Food Waste challenge and food share and donation program, as well as composting and recycling services to help school districts in Alameda County waste less food, cut costs, operate more efficiently, and keep valuable materials out of landfills. We also have resources to help students learn the 4Rs—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost, that is).

For activities and lessons, see our curriculum and videos.

School Program Overview

Food Waste Prevention at School

StopWaste's K-12 Smart Cafeteria Initiative supports Alameda County public schools to: 

  1. Reduce wasted food through prevention, food share, re-serving & donation.
  2. Reduce food related packaging & single-use utensils by replacing disposables with reusables.

K-12 School Districts Participating in Alameda County:

Oakland Unified School District

Livermore Joint Valley Unified School District

Fremont Unified School District

New Haven Unified School District

Alameda Unified School District 

StopWaste supports students and staff to ensure that edible surplus school food doesn’t go to waste by establishing food share and donation programs in coordination with the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health. The K-12 Smart Cafeteria Initiative allows students to share uneaten sealed food or unbitten whole fruit in the school cafeteria by establishing food share tables for students at school, then donating surplus food at the end of meal service to feed people in need. Between 2018-2020, StopWaste assisted in the recovery of over 100,000 pounds of school food for donation from Oakland Unified and Livermore Valley Joint Unified School Districts as part of a Food Waste Prevention and Rescue Grant from CalRecycle, in partnership with Alameda County’s Food Recovery Project: a food recovery and redistribution program managed in partnership with the Deputy Sheriff’s Activities League and ALL IN Alameda County

The initiative is funded by a Grant from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) through California Climate Investments. 


See additional resources below to learn how to bring school food share and donation practices to your school. You can also contact us for more information and to find out how to get your school district to participate. 

Learn More

4th Grade: Field trips to the StopWaste Education Center

Students can learn first-hand what happens to their recyclables, compostables and garbage at a materials recovery facility and transfer station. Free bus transportation provided to Alameda County public schools. 

Questions? Contact Cristian Aguilar (510) 891-6532 

Learn More

4-6th Grade Classrooms: 4Rs Student Action Projects

Bring academic fun and the 4Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost) into the classroom. Students engage in project-based learning and develop skills to make a difference in their school and their community. StopWaste educators visit the classroom and facilitate a three-part series of two-hour lessons.

Questions? Contact Arielle Conway (510) 891-6537 

Learn More

Middle & High School: StopWaste Ambassador Program (SWAP)

SWAP offers a range of services to help advance environmental education and leadership in Alameda County middle and high schools. StopWaste can provide teacher training, Green Team Action Project Kits, educator stipends, and technical assistance in supporting your students to take action at school and at home.

Questions? Contact Angelina Vergara (510) 891-6520


Anchor Schools

In an effort to amplify our work countywide, we are currently accepting applications for at least one school to become the model StopWaste school for their district. StopWaste Anchor Schools are committed to educating students to apply their academics in action-based project learning to stop waste at home, at school, and in their community. Anchor schools commit to planning hours to take action with StopWaste educators and will be given priority for StopWaste educator project support and StopWaste resources. To be eligible to become an anchor school, your school needs to have participated in a StopWaste Schools program within the last three years, and have one lead administrator, teacher or club leader as a main liaison. To apply to be a StopWaste Anchor School, apply here.

Priority School Districts

In Alameda County, a number of school districts have declared a commitment to reducing the amount of readily recyclable and compostable materials to less than 10% of trash sent to the landfill by the year 2020. These districts are eligible for priority registration and technical assistance from our Schools Program. For the 18-19 school year, we are also looking for new district partners to support our food waste reduction school programs. If you’re interested in becoming a priority district, e-mail