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Saint Paul Public Schools, District 625
360 Colborne Street
Saint Paul


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Organics Program

Sorting Waste in Our Cafeterias

Recycling Station






Since 2004, SPPS has had students participating in an organics program, sorting their lunch waste into trash, recycling and organics/food waste. In 2017, in addition to collecting food waste, the District switched to a compost organics program and can now collects food-soiled, non-recyclable papers such as napkins, paper towels, tissues and any certified compostable products to be sent to Specialized Environmental Technologies (SET). SET is a large compost facility in Rosemount, MN where the schools’ food waste is mixed with yard waste and turned into nutrient-dense compost in about 3-6 months. Compostable bags are used in the Organics program. These bags are sourced locally from a company named Natur-Tec based here in Minnesota. 

Sorting waste fosters a culture of environmental sustainability among students, staff and the wider community. Proper waste sorting reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills or incinerators, conserving valuable resources. The District spends more than $1 Million dollars on our waste program every year and in Ramsey County our trash is taxed 70% (we essentially pay for it twice) whereas recycling and organics have 0% tax. Embracing this program is tangible and impactful way our District is dedicated to being a responsible steward of our environment and resources.
Below are some resources to help schools with what types of items can be collected within the different waste streams at the sorting table in our cafeterias as well as information how custodial manages the different waste streams once students have sorted their waste into the correct container. 
Organics and Recycling Resources

Information on How to Sort
Resources from Vendors
Organics 101: SET (where our compost organics goes to)
Republic Services Recycling Guide (where our recycling goes to)
R&E Center (video- where our trash goes, waste-to-energy)
How the different waste streams are managed:
Sorting Table Signs
Organics Sign (pdf 8.5x11)
Recycling Sign (pdf 8.5x11)
Trash Sign (pdf 8.5x11)
Liquids Sign (pdf 8.5x11)