Zero Waste Schools – NYC Department of Sanitation

All schools in New York City are working to be Zero Waste Schools! Just over 100 schools, in Brooklyn and Manhattan, are part of a special group of the first 100 Zero Waste Schools. These schools, with support from the Department of Education, GrowNYC Recycling Champions, and the Department of Sanitation, will serve as models for the rest of the City as ALL schools work to achieve zero waste.

About Zero Waste Schools App:

DSNY’s interactive Zero Waste Schools app (ZWS) is a safe platform for teachers and students to share their recycling and sustainability projects and ideas.

In addition to hosting the Zero Waste Schools Awards and the Green Team Mini-Grants, the ZWS app is a central location for all things relating to sustainability in schools. Users can also participate in prompts we post (i.e. show us your zero-waste lunch) to win giveaways such as t-shirts and reusable bags.

Creating An Account on ZWS:

Teachers must first create an account before they or their students can begin posting. Teachers can get their school’s unique validation code, which they will need to create their school’s account, by emailing (include your school name/number and address).
Teachers can begin posting as soon as they sign up.

ZWS Contests & Awards:

The Zero Waste Schools Awards is a host of contests that recognize exemplary efforts in recycling, sustainability, and clean-up projects. Click on Contests for more information.

• DSNY’s Commissioner’s Cup (Award) A recognition for sustainability efforts, projects and significant improvement in school recycling, chosen by the DSNY Commissioner’s Office.
• CCNYC’s Team Up To Clean up Contest Rewards schools that conceive, design, and implement effective cleanup and beautification projects, including school gardens.
• MFTA’s Reduce & Reuse Contest Recognizes and awards creative reuse projects in schools.
• RCP’s Super Recyclers Contest Recognizes and awards exemplary recycling programs in schools.

Green Team Mini-Grants:
The New York City Department of Sanitation and Citizens Committee for New York City are awarding up to $1,000 to school green teams! Grants are open in the Fall and Spring. Click on Contests for more information.

Grants must be used for green team expenses such as recycling and garden projects, t-shirts/uniforms, school sustainability events, and eco-friendly giveaways. Preference will be given to recycling or waste related projects.

All K-12 public schools are encouraged to apply! For more information, email

Follow @NYCZeroWasteSchools on Facebook to stay up to date!