2013 Recycling Awards: School

School Award Winner – Bishop Watterson High School

Location – Columbus, OH
Amount of paper and paper-based packaging recovered in 2012 – 18.36 tons
Student population – 900
Amount collected per student – 33.8 pounds


  Started in 2009, the Bishop Watterson recycling program
  successfully recovered more than 90 percent of the paper and
  paper-based packaging generated on the school campus.  A
  strong service component – inherent in the curriculum and
  culture – is credited with helping to achieve such rapid and
  impressive results. 


  The paper recycling program at Bishop Watterson is
  administered on a volunteer basis by an environmental
  science teacher with the assistance of student council
  students and advisors, the maintenance staff and the
  administrative staff.  All student council members are
  engaged in the collection of recyclables from their
homerooms and volunteer to help encourage and educate fellow students with their recycling efforts in the cafeteria.  In addition to paper recycling bins in the classrooms, art rooms, technology department, library and offices, the school encourages the recovery of the kraft lunch bags used daily by approximately 500 students.  Nearly 87,500 such bags are recycled annually as a result.


  Educating students, educators, faculty, cooks, staff,
  administrative assistants, parents and community members
  is integral to the success at Bishop Watterson High.  Nearly
  all of the 1,100 students and staff actively participate in
  recycling efforts.  Further, recycling has been integrated into
  the environmental curriculum; the art department uses
  recovered materials as artists’ paper; the video magazine staff
  write and film plays incorporating recycling themes that are
  shown to the entire school and articles are published in community papers describing the program and its success. 


Students, faculty, the administration and the community work together to ensure a culture of environmental stewardship and responsibility, which has in turn aided the paper recovery program.  Program administrators work closely with the waste hauler; packaging materials are reused by a local business partner; sawdust from woodworking classes is used as a soil amendment; wood scraps are turned into drawing charcoal and the wood ash is used to create lye for soap.  At the end of the year, students place left-over notebook paper, workbooks and other school supplies in the recycling containers and then help to sort them.  A non-profit organization then collects and donates these school supplies to Columbus inner-city schools.

Learn more:

To learn more about the Bishop Watterson High School, visit www.bishopwatterson.com.