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DEPARTMENTS   »   District Operational Services   »   Green Schools Initiative   »   Waste Reduction & Recycling

OPS Recycling

In 2008 OPS initiated a single-stream recycling program, expanding from its earlier program of recycling paper only. The single-stream program allows schools to recycle paper, cardboard, plastic (#1–5, 7), and metals in one container. There is no need to sort them out. OPS recycling is split into two categories: classroom/hallway/office and cafeteria recycling.

Recycling Information

The following resources provide the key information schools need to successfully start and/or maintain a recycling program:

OPS Green Team Toolkit   The OPS Green Team Toolkit focuses on environmental behaviors and zero/low-cost activities that green teams can implement with relative ease and that can significantly lessen the negative environmental impact of a school community; it does not address high-cost facility renovations or specific environmental curriculum. In other words, the OPS Green Team Toolkit discusses small scale events and daily actions that students and staff can partake in to conserve resources and energy while they are at school.

Recycling Tips Flyer. This flyer summarizes what can be recycled as well as the key contacts throughout the district who can help answer your questions. It also has a few tips for successful recycling. 

Recycling Sign (Classroom/Hallway/Office). This sign can be taped to any container used to collect recyclables. It signifies and alerts individuals that the container is for recyclables, as well as reminds them about the items that can be recycled.

What Can be Recycled? This document is the official list from OPS on what can and cannot be recycled in OPS' program. Recently, gable-top and aseptic containers (such as 1/2-gallon milk and orange juice cartons) are also able to be recycled.

Guide for Increasing Recycling or Waste Dumpster PullThis document details the OPS protocol for changing dumpster pulls.

Electronic Waste: Electronic waste includes things like computers, printers, copiers, and other equipment that has any kind of circuit board in it (like a switchboard telephone). This type of equipment often contains heavy metals in the circuitry that should not be sent to the landfill. Instead, you should take the equipment out of inventory and submit a request to district operations to pick it up. Following this procedure will both ensure that the equipment is recycled properly and that the district inventory is kept up-to-date.

The majority of OPS trash comes from the cafeteria. Much of this waste can be recycled, which is why it is important for all schools to implement successful recycling programs in the cafeteria. Fortunately, many schools in OPS either have a cafeteria program currently in place or are getting ready to start one soon. Be sure to post the Cafeteria Recycling Sign on the recycling containers.  You can also consult the Cafeteria Recycling Tips handout.

OPS Recycling and Grant Options: A list of possible options for cafeteria recycling containers and grants to help fund the purchase of these containers. 

Suggestions for Producing a Cafeteria Recycling Video: This document notes some suggestions for creating a cafeteria recycling video if your school is interested in developing one to help promote the program and educate students/staff.

Grab 'n' Go Recycling!  This document outlines some best practices for Grab 'n' Go recycling and offers a reminder of what is (and is not) recyclable.






Tray Stacking at Morton by Green Schools Initiative
Energy Patrol Vests by Green Schools Initiative
Druid Hill earned vests by being a Tier II school for the 2015-16 GSI Recognition Program and earning over 75 points by recycling, teaching Earth friendly lessons, and conserving utilities in the building, among other things.
2016-17 OPS GSI Recognition Program by Green Schools Initiative
The Omaha Public Schools Green Schools Initiative (GSI) Recognition Program is designed to improve the District’s progress towards the GSI goals to reduce energy, water, emissions and waste, and to increase recycling by engaging building occupants. 
Two OPS Schools Saluted for Leading Way by Green Schools Initiative
TAC Student Green Team Recycling Video by Green Schools Initiative
Batteries – Aerosol Cans – Spent Florescent Lamps… OPS recycles all of these items! by Green Schools Initiative
OPS prefer to pick up batteries, aerosol cans, and spent florescent bulbs at the same time to reduce our carbon footprint. Collect the batteries and cans in boxes and store near the bulbs so the technician sees all the recyclable materials.
Omaha Public Schools Surplus Furniture and Equipment Initiative by Green Schools Initiative
The OPS Supply Division operates a highly successful Surplus Furniture and Equipment Initiative that, during calendar year 2013, provided in excess of 4,800 items to OPS facilities free of charge. 
JP Lord Earth Day Display by Green Schools Initiative

In celebration of Earth Day, students from JP Lord made a wonderful display for the main hallway of their school.

Gomez Heritage celebrates Earth Week by Green Schools Initiative
Gomez Heritage had a fun filled week of activities for Earth Week 2014.  The week ended with an outstanding carnival.  Read all about the great activities!
OPS Waste Audit/Recycling Contest by Green Schools Initiative
OPS Waste Audit/Recycling Contest
In 2012, The United States Green Building Council (local Flatwater Chapter) provided OPS with grant funding for materials and education to help start recycling programs in all OPS high school cafeterias. As part of the grant requirements, a waste audit was conducted using samples of trash from all seven OPS high schools.