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OC Waste & Recycling Partnership with Inside the Outdoors Earns Coveted Golden Bell Award

California School Boards Association Recognizes Project Zero Waste


SANTA ANA, Calif. — Project Zero Waste, a service-learning program developed through a partnership between the County of Orange, OC Waste & Recycling, and the Orange County Department of Education’s (OCDE) Inside the Outdoors, has earned the California School Boards Association’s highly regarded Golden Bell Award. The award was announced at a ceremony on Saturday, December 5, 2015.

The Orange County Office of Education’s, Project Zero Waste program is an Inside the Outdoors service-learning environmental science program developed in partnership with the County of Orange—OC Waste & Recycling. Every year Project Zero Waste engages more than 40,000 students in project-based lessons that transform classroom concepts into real life action.

 “School gardens and on-campus recycling is a great way to teach kids to apply what they have learned in a real world context,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Todd Spitzer. “The County of Orange is proud to collaborate with the Orange County Department of Education’s Project Zero Waste to enhance learning and inspire action on behalf of the environment.”

 Some of the projects designed and implemented by students in the Project Zero Waste program include campus-wide recycling efforts, school gardens, community clean-up events and other student-led activities. Project Zero Waste improves academic outcomes, builds 21st century skills, and promotes civic engagement for students, teachers, and community partners.

 More than 325,000 have participated in hands-on environmental science instruction since the launch of Project Zero Waste in 2009. In the program, participants first learn the science of solid waste though Inside the Outdoors field trips and in-class lessons taught by Traveling Scientists. Then they apply what they’ve learned to the design and implementation of solid waste reduction projects.

 Assessments of Project Zero Waste students show an average increase in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) knowledge of 14 percent, and the benefits go even further. Schools engaging in the program have reduced their trash output up to 20,000 pounds annually.

 OCDE also received the Governor’s Award for Environmental and Economic Leadership for the Project Zero Waste program in 2011. To learn more about Project Zero Waste visit the Inside the Outdoors website.

 OC Waste & Recycling manages one of the nation’s premiere solid waste disposal systems, which serve 34 cities and more than three million residents. The department operates a network of three active landfills and four household hazardous waste collection centers. OC Waste & Recycling sponsors the Eco Challenge Exhibit at Discovery Cube OC, offering a hands-on learning experience to promote the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Visit for more information.