OPUSD SUSTAINABILITY IN ACTION
Oak Park Unified School District has a comprehensive sustainability program and was the first school district in California to receive the National Green Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education and the E.P.A. The development of environmental and social responsibility along with global stewardship by all students are moral imperatives as established by the Oak Park USD Board of Education. The District strives to model these concepts in practice and they are included in the educational program at all levels.
The following are examples of environmental practices that all parents should be aware of:
- All campuses have recycling and food composting separation in all lunch areas and all classrooms and offices have recycling containers. Students are taught to separate their items.
- The District has a zero-waste lunch policy (all students bring reusable lunch boxes, reusable containers, and reusable water bottles)
- OPUSD provides water stations for refillable water bottles on all campuses (one-time use plastic water bottles are highly discouraged).
We encourage all families to reduce, reuse and recycle and provide the following for your convenience:
- Community Electronics Recycling Bins: Recycle small electronics and cabling, ink and toner cartridges and household batteries in white bins located inside all elementary schools, MCMS and the Oak Park Library. Note: Please don’t leave items that you cannot place inside the bin. Goodwill locations will accept goods of this size (or save for our recycling drive in February at OPHS).
- USAgain Clothing Bins: Recycle clothing, shoes and all textiles in the large green bins located on each campus.
- Flags: Recycle at the District Office
Additional “Green Initiatives” in place at OP Schools include:
- Environmental literacy is taught in all grade levels through our next generation science instruction.
- Solar arrays at each campus generate 85% of our energy use saving approximately $400,000 a year in energy costs and significantly reduce our carbon footprint. These also provide much needed shade for our students. On weekends, vacations, and summer break our system generates green electricity that is returned to the grid, helping offset higher usage in homes.
- The student nutrition program provides healthy low-carbon meals each day prepared on our campuses. No beef, pork, lamb, or fish are used. Poultry sourced from two free-range farms in California and high protein, natural plant-based meals are served.
- There is a no-idling policy for all vehicles on all school campuses.
- We use only organic fertilizers on fields and a natural pest management program that does not include any rodenticides, Round-Up, or other known cancer-causing chemicals.
- There is an organic garden at every school and all students in K-8 have access to an instructional garden program where children learn about and practice sustainable agriculture.
- “Super Saturday,” our annual sustainability fair and recycling drive at OPHS is held annually in February.
- A School Supplies Drive is held at the end of the year that includes a collection of unwanted school supplies from both classrooms and homes, which are donated to students in need.
- We minimize the use of materials that constitute hazardous waste and utilizing eco-safe Green Guard labeled cleaning products.
- We purchase sustainable, U.S. made building materials and furniture whenever possible.
- All schools use 100% recycled content copy paper.