Green Schools Program

About the Green Schools Program

The health and wellness of our city is rooted in the sustainability of our built and natural environment. While we are all learning and trying to make environmentally conscious decisions about our lives, the next generation is left with a bit of a mess to clean up. Since our future citizens are so important to us, our Green Schools Program is a point of pride for the city. 

The City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Division offers free educational presentations to all local K-12 schools, pre-schools, environmental clubs, summer camps, colleges and after-school programs. We also offer free recycle bins and signage to all schools to help promote sustainability throughout the district. Free compost and vermiculite bins as well as rain barrels are available upon request!

During the 2020/2021 school year, the Green Schools Program worked with Ventura Unified School District and individual educators to provide online and distance learning resources to promote sustainability and environmental education. To celebrate Earth Month, the Green Schools Program provided virtual lessons to K-5 students upon request. Our program provided 36 presentation to over 907 students and distributed 517 "Where Does It Go?" coloring books about waste and recycling.

Updates for the 2022/2023 School Year

Classroom presentation on waste, recycling, and environmental careers are available upon request. Please email sustainability


How Do We Support Sustainability in Schools?

Waste Assessments and Reduction

Students are making connections between their everyday actions and the impact those choices have on the environment. As a part of a Ventura School District initiative, the City of Ventura's Environmental Sustainability Division is working with schools to develop waste assessments which can be used both as a learning experience and a tool to reduces operating costs associated with waste management.


The City is working in partnership with EJ Harrison and Ventura Unified School District to reduce waste. The data collected during the waste assessments have enabled us to implement programs, such as classroom recycling and composting for lunch food waste, which are showing a significant reduction in landfill-bound waste.

Lunch Recycling Program

In 2012, EJ Harrison, the City and VUSD partnered to implement a food waste composting and milk carton recycling program at EP Foster Elementary School. The custodian reported a reduction in trash from 44 bags daily to just 7. That's a significant savings! The food is composted at the Agromin test site on the east-end of the city limits. Milk Cartons and the milk represented close to 20% of the total volume of trash before the new program was established. By 2017, all 17 elementary schools were enrolled in the food waste collection and composting program.

Since 2013, Environmental Sustainability in partnership with E.J. Harrison has been offering recycling and composting programs within the Ventura Unified School District (VUSD). In just four years, VUSD successfully enrolled all 17 elementary schools in the food waste collection and recycling program. The program's mission is to educate children on how and what can be recycled or composted and the reasons behind why these practices are essential to the sustainability of our community. Each year we collect and divert over 150 tons of food waste from the landfill, avoiding methane release while creating nutrient-rich compost material. If you're a principal, administrator, or generally curious about the lunch recycling and food waste composting program, we've created a video to go over the benefits and best practices. Watch a video about our food waste collection, diversion, and composting program.

In addition to supplying appropriate bin signage, the city also provides in-classroom and lunchtime assistance to explain the process and value of the program to students and staff (See the Resources section below). View our lunchtime recycling brochure for staff and lunchaids (PDF) - español (PDF). We also assist schools in doing waste audits to find areas of improvement and help schools institute internal recognition and rewards for a job well done. Check out our 2020 Green Schools Report for a recap on the 2019-2020 school year!

Resources for Elementary Schools

Resources for Middle Schools and High Schools

Videos for Students About the Lunchtime Recycling Program