Education & Prevention
The best tool in our waste prevention mission is Education! Educating ourselves and our communities on how to recycle, compost, and prevent waste helps ensure that this message is carried on for generations to come.
Recycling and composting are great for the environment, but preventing waste is even better. Preventing food waste can be the first and easiest daily habit to modify.
Things you can do to prevent food waste:
- Buy only what you need
- Create a realistic meal plan—decide what you’re going to eat before you go to the grocery store
- Try a meal-planning app like Paprika or The Fresh 20*
- Make a shopping list based on your meal plan and include how much you need of each item.
- Stick to your shopping list
- Store food to stay fresh longer
- Shop for locally-grown food so it’s fresh when you get it.
- Use a food storage guide (PDF) to learn how to store food to last longer.
- Store food in clear containers so you can see what needs to be eaten.
- Remember what you have
- Store new items behind the old to help you remember to use the older food first.
- Use a whiteboard to keep track of what you have that needs to be used up.
- Create an “Eat First” box or shelf for foods that need to be eaten soon (see example in King County’s Smart Saving video).
- Eat leftovers
- Try out recipes that combine ingredients you have on-hand. Check out Big Oven or King County’s Food: Too Good to Waste Recipe Box to search for recipes.*
- Freeze what you can’t finish – see more tips for freezing.
- Understand date labels
- Date labels are about the best quality, not safety. Check out the USDA’s Food Product Dating Fact Sheet and learn how to tell for yourself if food has gone bad, instead of relying on date labels.
- Infant formula is the only exception. It should not be used after the “Use-By” date.
- Check out Stilly Tasty for info on the shelf life of foods or the USDA’s Food Keeper app for recommended food storage times.
Educating staff or residents
The City provides posters and flyers, as well as engaging workshops and presentations.
Translated Flyers (8.5x11)
- Chinese – Recycling (PDF)
- Hindi – Recycling (PDF)
- Korean – Recycling (PDF)
- Russian – Recycling (PDF)
Teachers and Students
King County offers several programs for students at all grade levels
- Preschool and Kindergarten: Story reading and discussion
- Contact Donna Miscolta via email or at 206-296-4477
- Elementary: Assemblies, classroom programs and assistance with Green Team projects
- Contact 206-583-0655 or email about workshops
- King County Green Schools Program - 3-level program provides schools with tools and support needed to initiate and expand conservation practices, operate efficient facilities and involve the whole school community in environmental stewardship – Contact Dale Alekel at 206-296-8457 or email Dale Alekel.
- King County Hazardous Waste School Programs - Teacher training workshop on household hazardous waste, including project assistance and follow-up classroom presentations – Contact 206-583-0665 or visit hazwastehelp.org/educators.
Other School Programs
- Washington Green Schools Program - Web-based program with resources and tools to take action on energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling and waste reduction, etc.
- King County Heroes at School Program - Recognition for your school’s environmental accomplishments.
- Alliance for Climate Education - National nonprofit dedicated to educating America’s high school students about the science behind climate change.
- King County – Programs for Educators Directory - Annual guide for King County educators with the latest programs, materials, and funding sources available from the county.
- Facing the Future – Non-profit offering sustainability and global issues curriculum, professional development, service learning and K-12 lessons.
- King County Solid Waste Field Trips – Visits to a recycling center, the landfill or transfer station to see where waste goes.
- King County - Family Fun, It’s Easy Being Green - Resources, games, fun facts, tricks and tips for you to reduce your carbon footprint and green up your ride, home and garden.
- Digital Washington - Recycle Forward innovative approach to getting new technology for your classroom by recycling used electronics and ink cartridges for cash.