Recycling is Simply Elementary

RISE Headlines

Initial Food Scrap Pilot
at Cesar Chavez Elementary
and Harper Jr. High


Initial success of pilot drives elementary expansion


In November, 2011 Davis Waste Removal and the City of Davis suggested expanding their Commercial Food Scrap Pilot Composting Program to a school environment. Cesar Chavez Elementary (CCE) and Harper Jr. High were selected as initial pilot schools.

The schools were allowed to ���`����` �����饹divert to compost all food scraps along with selected paper containers and milk and juice cartons.  CCE was additionally able to add paper towel waste from bathrooms. Within 5 weeks CCE was able to reduce its daily lunch time solid waste output from 64 gallons to 16 gallons, a 75% reduction.  Their success spurred an expansion of the program to all elementary sites in Fall 2012.

Harper Jr. High demonstrated that the more open lunch format present in secondary schools creates new challenges for solid waste reduction. Harper as well as other secondary sites continue to test new recycling and composting strategies.


Welcome to the Davis RISE web site:
home to the innovative recycling program for Davis schools

Recycle Cans

The RISE program is a partnership between Davis Waste Removal, Davis Farm to School, the RCC Group, LLC, an environmental management firm, the City of Davis, the Davis Joint Unified School District and the DJUSD Student Nutrition Services.

The partners work together to develop an effective recycling program with the ambitious goal of reducing the solid waste stream at all DJUSD schools and facilities. You can find out more about DavisRise here.

Recent RISE news and events

2013: ALL Compost a big success at elementary sites, Harper Jr. High also saves
The ALL compost pilot was a big success at the elementary schools with 5 schools reducing their solid waste output by 60% or more. Ximena Diez-Jackson, the district dRISE coordinator, estimates that elementary schools will divert 480 cubic yards of solid waste from the landfill, with an estimated savings of $3,000 per year. The program has now moved beyond the pilot phase and has been officially adopted at all elementary sites.

Harper Jr. High reports that with its innovative student-driven recycling program, it has been able to remove one 4 cubic yard trash dumpster, with a weekly savings of $253.

Fall 2012:
ALL Compost Pilot expands to elementary sites


This fall, elementary schools across Davis embarked on an ambitious pilot program to compost all food waste as well as milk and juice cartons from the school lunch program.  The ALL (All Lunch Leftovers) Compost Pilot is an extension of the Food Scrap Diversion pilot undertaken by commercial restaurants in the City of Davis���`����` �ᥬ�� in partnership with Davis Waste Removal, and initially piloted by Cesar Chavez Elementary and Harper Jr. High (see sidebar story).

At the start of the school year, custodians, DavisRISE site leaders and volunteers received in-service training and site visits from Ximena Diez-Jackson, the District RISE coordinator. The configuration of waste collection cans at each site was modified so that trash was reduced to one can, compost was expanded to 2 cans, and plastic/metal recycling and paper recycling maintained at one can each.  New patterns of student dismissal and waste sorting by students had to be implemented at each site.  A new, uniform system of bilingual signs was created for use by all elementary schools and some secondary schools. The effect of the compost diversion is tracked at each school by simple daily measures of the total volume of trash in school dumpsters.  At the end of the pilot, the cost of the compost program will be measured against the savings due to reduction of solid waste volumes at each site.

More details on the workings of the ALL compost program will soon be updated on our resources page.
Fall 2012: Federal School Lunch changes and food waste

New Federal guidelines implemented in Fall, 2012 have improved the healthfulness of school lunches .  Students now have requirements to make healthy food choices of fruits or vegetables, but they also have to learn to eat their new healthy menu and to not just throw everything away.  Our schools faced similar challenges nearly a decade ago when "Crunch Lunch" salad bars were first introduced to our students.

DavisRISE is once again meeting the challenge of reducing food waste at school lunch time by working with our Davis Farm to School (DF2S) parent organization, Student Nutrition Services (SNS), and individual school sites.  RISE leaders can alert SNS to commonly discarded food items so that SNS can make appropriate changes in their food presentation.  DF2S conducts taste testing of school lunch items to help students learn to choose what they like to eat.  RISE���`����` �����ȥ�å� leaders and school staff work together to encourage kids to eat healthy lunches and to not waste food.  DavisRISE, DF2S and SNS are working on new ways to educate our school communities about the new lunch guidelines and healthy eating.
September 2012: DavisRISE and Student Nutrition Services coordinate packaging

 DavisRISE representatives recently met with Student Nutrition Services (SNS) this Fall to obtain samples of the serving ware selection for this school year.  SNS purchases a variety of trays and food containers each year and it is most useful for the recycle team to know in advance the types of containers that will appear during school lunch.  By obtaining samples of the container selection ahead of time, DavisRISE can consult with our local hauler (Davis Waste Removal) to determine if the serving ware should be diverted to recycling, composting or solid waste.  DavisRISE and SNS plan to continue this practice at the beginning of each school year.


  • On average, Americans waste 25 percent of the food they prepare.
  • We throw away 44 percent of our yard trimmings and over 90percent of our wood waste.
  • It's time to be part of the solution.


EPA launched its new organic materials Website. This Website is a great place for businesses and consumers to find ways to put surplus food, yard trimmings and wood waste to good use. With information on the Food Waste Recovery Hierarchy, EPA's GreenScapes program, and wood waste recovery options, everyone can find a way to be part of the solution.

Help EPA spread the word about finding productive ways to use organics.
Visit the Organic Materials Website at www.epa.gov/organicmaterials today!"



DavisRISE is a program of Davis Farm to School

cartoon kids garden, eat, recycle