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What is the Learning & Living Green Program?

The Learning and Living Green Program is a school-based recycling and organics program that aligns with the residential waste program. It is operated in partnership with 4 local school boards in over 100 schools in Simcoe County.

The County believes that children play a significant role in influencing adult behaviour. By educating students in the importance of waste reduction in a school setting, they will take this knowledge home to influence their parents and family members.

This program does not apply to schools in the separated cities of Barrie or Orillia.

How does the program work?

​We want your school waste program to be a success. We have streamlined the process to make things easier for you. To ensure your program is successful and sustainable, follow the best practices outlined below:

  • Classroom waste stations should be consistent, each containing a green bin, recycling bin and garbage can with overhead signage and bin labels
  • Bins should be kept together as a ‘sorting station’
  • Designate students to bring recycling and organics down to the depot regularly, two-three times a week and always before weekends and holidays
  • To serve as a reminder to bring materials down, some schools use a short song/chime over the PA system
  • Work together to point out improperly sorted items

Waste Station

  • Depots should be located in a centralized location
  • Depot bins need to have more capacity to allow material from the classrooms to be consolidated before it is taken to outdoor storage by a custodian
  • Extra compostable and clear plastic bags should be located in the depot so that students can re-line their bins after dumping material
  • Do not store full organics carts in the school, once full they should be placed outside until collection day to avoid odours and pests. Simply swap the full cart for an empty cart as needed
  • Wash the bins out as needed to avoid odours and pests

Depot Cart

Take an inventory to determine what resources are required. This may include green bins, recycling boxes, organics carts, posters, bin labels and bags. Contact your school board and ask for ordering information for the Learning & Living Green Program.

  • Click here to check your organics collection day
  • Place carts curbside by 7 a.m. weekly on your collection day. Must be placed within 8 feet of the travelled portion of the road, not in the parking lot or bus loop
  • In the winter do not impede on snow-clearing equipment
  • Carts must be 2 feet apart from each other or other objects with arrows facing the street and lids closed
  • Let your school board representative know when you will be placing organics out for the first time so your location can be flagged for the waste collector

Curbside Organics Cart


  • Transfer depot recycling to the recycling dumpster(s)
  • Ensure dumpster(s) are locked to avoid illegal dumping
  • Only use the County-issued padlock for the recycling dumpster marked X2898 (driver has a key)
  • Only recycling items shown on the recycling poster are permitted in recycling dumpster(s) (plastic chairs, metal desks are not permitted)
  • If you have overflow material, contact your board representative for further instruction


  • The purpose of the Learning & Living Green program is to educate and engage students on waste reduction and diversion and, in doing so, encourage participation at home, in the residential program. The best way to achieve this is for the program to be student-run
  • Students will ‘learn by doing’ as they place their materials into the correct receptacles at the classroom waste station, checking the signage first if necessary
  • Two students can take the recycling and organics down to the depot as necessary (2-3 times a week and always before weekends and holidays), rotate so everyone takes a turn


  • Designate students to take bins to depot, re-line and return to classroom
  • Teachers may wish to discover curriculum links to waste and the environment (landfill, composting and recycling processes) to highlight the importance of the waste programs in their school and at home
  • Point out any contamination errors in sorting

Custodial Staff:

  • Take depot material outside to store until collection
  • Order, maintain inventory, and make available, necessary bags for classroom bins
  • Wash bins out as needed
  • Take organics carts to the curb by 7 a.m. on collection day
  • Swap out full depot bins for empty ones frequently. Avoid indoor storage of waste in hallways for prolonged periods to reduce odours and pests

School Administration:

  • Ensure that whole – school participation is being achieved
  • Seek program support through school board or County of Simcoe as needed

Green Teams:

School waste programs can benefit by having a dedicated Green Team who can act as the school’s waste ambassadors by:

  • ​Promoting program participation through school website, social media, parent communications / newsletters, morning announcements or assemblies
  • Monitor for participation and contamination by manning depots (grant incentives to high-performing classes such as extra recess)
  • Ensure classroom bins/signage are arranged properly

The County of Simcoe waste experts are available to deliver a waste presentation to kick off the implementation of your new waste program. This will be the final step to ensure everyone in the school is familiar with what goes into each bin and how the program will operate. Staff will work with you to customize a presentation plan that suits the needs of your school. Green team training is also available. Contact your location School Board Representative or email to get started!


Avoid unwanted odours and pests by doing the following:

  1. Use certified compostable bags to line the classroom green bins
  2. Keep bins shut when not in use
  3. Empty bins often (2-3 times a week and always before holidays and weekends)
  4. Do not store organics or recycling in the school; deposit into temporary depot bins to be taken immediately outside to store until collection day
  5. Clean bins as needed
  6. Empty liquids first