We are making New York City public schools more sustainable by:

  • Making school buildings eco-friendly and efficient
  • Inspiring students, teachers, parents, and school communities to take part in environmental programs
  • Promoting everyday practices that benefit the environment

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Zero Waste Schools

In order for the City to have zero waste go to landfills by 2030, we all have to do our part. And that means our schools do too.

Zero Waste Schools is a program designed to do just that. Instead of sending waste to landfills:

  • Schools can recycle paper, cardboard, metal, glass, plastic, and cartons
  • About half our schools compost to keep food scraps from going to landfills

Energy Conservation

The City has a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. To be part of this effort, we have brought energy efficiency programs to our schools:

  • Demand Response program: helps us avoid power outages during very hot summer days or very cold winter ones. Over 270 of our buildings take part in the program by:
    • turning off overhead lighting
    • reducing elevator service
    • turning off other machinery that requires excessive energy
  • Solar Panels are already on the roofs of over 30 school buildings. Another 100 solar projects will be completed over the next few years.


We are working to help the City reduce water use by 5%. We’ve done this by:

  • Installing high-efficiency bathroom fixtures in over 500 schools
  • Setting up programs to reduce water use and increase water efficiency


Over 50 % of our school buildings have access to school gardens. These gardens help to:

  • Support instruction on gardening and the local food system
  • Promote healthy eating habits.
  • Increase student consumption of more fresh and locally-grown produce.
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