Let's get started! OGS Information 

(Click Here if your school is NOT in Lane County.)

What is OGS?

OGS is a network of approximately 200 schools throughout Oregon that are committed to reducing waste, using less energy, and conserving water. The program benefits your school through:

  • Leadership opportunities for students;

  • Helps teachers work together on common goals;

  • Has shown to be a way of improving behavior by imparting respect for the school’s operations;

  • Gets the school’s community involved in creating a healthier world for everyone;

  • Becoming certified makes your school eligible for a $500 grant from Lane County Waste Management division to purchase recycling bins, gloves, signs, posters, or whatever your school needs to “go green.”

Get starting using the following steps! Always remember - you are not alone - please never hesitate to ask for help along the way!!

Step 1 - Connect and Schedule


(1)   Contact your regional coordinator: Joshua Frankel at Partners for Sustainable Schools

greenschools@live.com / 541-636-0096. (Or click on "Submit your Contact Info" below.)


(2)  You will be sent a link to your online application (this is a unique link that you will use for the entire process of applying), and instructions on the application process.


(3)  Joshua will help you schedule your "waste audit" and "school tour." (NOTE: The information from these activities will be used to complete your online application.)

NOTE: When all requirements of Entry-level certification (or Merit/Premier for those upgrading) are complete, you will work with Joshua to schedule an awards assembly. This can be part of an existing full-school assembly, or can be its own assembly. 

Step 2 - Gather Info/Data


Gathering "baseline" data about your school is an essential part of the OGS process. Here are the ways we do that:

(1) Waste Audit: With help from your local OGS coordinator (Joshua Frankel – greenschools@live.com), you will be sorting one day worth of garbage to identify what types of waste your school is producing.

(2) School Tour: On the day of the waste audit (or on a different day if needed), Joshua will help you with a walk around your school to gather information about what you are already doing to save resources. As part of the tour we will need to speak with your custodian as well, asking a few brief questions.

(3) Energy/Water info: Using a form letter found on the application you will be contacting district facilities (or your utility directly) to determine the school's average energy and water usage. (NOTE: You may be able to obtain this from office staff by asking them for your latest electricity/water bill).

(4) Garbage/Recycling assessment: We need to determine the amount of garbage (in cubic yards) and recycling (in gallons) picked up each week from your school. (NOTE: these numbers can often be determined during the school tour.)

All this info can be used in setting your school goals.

Step 3 - Setting Goals

Using the information gathered in the waste audit, school tour, etc., you will determine projects/goals that will help your school save resources now and in the future.


You need to set solid, yet attainable goals, in the following categories: waste reduction, recycling, energy and water. (You can lead this yourself, appoint someone to the task, or gather a small team of volunteers to complete this process.)

Here is a sample goal (in the Recycling category): “Reduce the amount of our school's garbage by creating posters to remind all students and staff to place paper, and clean plastic and metal containers, in the recycling bins.”

Each goal has a list of “steps-to-achieve.” Here is an example for the goal listed above:

1. Educate classes on what items can go in the recycle bins.


2. Have students create posters.


3. Place the posters where the recycle bins are located.

Each goal, along with its “step-to-achieve,” represents a specific project that your school can work on to “go green.” Goals can be related to any of the “basic” or “advanced” projects listed here:

Step 4 - Review and Celebrate!

Review Process: Once all the information in your application is complete it will be reviewed by Joshua. He will suggest any needed edits/additions until the application is complete. At this point an assembly date will be determined as well! He will submit your information, along with the grant request, to Lane County Waste Management who will review the application and determine eligibility for your $500 grant.

Assembly: Your whole school will find out about the great work you have done to complete the OGS certification through the assembly. This can be part of an existing full-school assembly, or can be its own assembly. (NOTE: a minimum of 7 or 8 minutes are needed to present the award and grant check.)

Click here to Submit your Contact Info

(NOTE: This will open a Google form link.)

** More info about projects and goals **

The Basics:

Every school participating in OGS needs to implement these basic actions related to smart resource use. These can be listed on your OGS application as things you are doing, or can be integrated into your goals:

  • Commingled Recycling: office paper, newspaper, paperboard/cardboard, plastic (#1 and #2 - bottles and jugs - beverage only), metal cans/aluminum, ink cartridges, and glass (if applicable).

    • Materials should be collected from ALL areas of the school, sorted correctly, and placed for pickup by the school’s hauler.

    • Someone needs to be in-charge, and there should be some sort of evaluation system to ensure that this role is being conducted properly.

  • Reuse: paper reuse bins & art supply reuse collection.         

    • Paper reuse bins should be in every classroom, and other appropriate places around school (e.g. library, office and copy room).

    • Someone needs to be in-charge of the bins, and there should be some sort of evaluation system to ensure that this role is being conducted properly.

  • Energy: lighting, heating, cooling and appliances.

    • Basic signs should be located in all rooms encouraging students and staff to be energy-wise. about heating/cooling, lights and devices.

    • All technology should be set to turn off (or sleep) when not in use.

  • Water: bathrooms, classrooms, landscaping and gardens.

    • Basic signs should be located in all rooms encouraging students and staff to be water-wise.


There are certain projects that a school can (and should!) implement beyond the basics described above. These are great things to include in your goals, unless you are already doing them (which means they should be listed on your application as well). Here are some examples:

  • Collect plastic bags (also known as carrier bags) and plastic film (e.g. plastic wrapping around toilet paper and water bottle cases) for recycling. Most commingled recycling haulers will not accept plastic bags/film. However this material is very recyclable as long as it is clean! Almost all grocery stores have plastic bag/film collection bins.

    • Place a collection bin for plastic bags/film in or near the office.

    • Enlist a small group of parent volunteers to trade off the task of taking the material to the grocery store each week. (A student could easily grab the bags on their way outside to get picked up by their parent!)


  • Make money off of your recycling!

    • Collect cans and bottles that have OR (Oregon) 10¢ listed on the container.

    • Take the collected containers to a recycler for cash to support the school’s “green” programs!

  • Create a no idle zone. When parents turn off their engines it is good for everyone’s heath, and it’s good for the Earth.

    • Install signs in the parking lot that indicate the no idle zone.

    • Have a few students leave class a little early to give out “thank you” slips to parents/guardians that turn of their engines while waiting for their student(s) in front of the school.

  • Plan to save water during the summer months.

    • Schedule a meeting between your custodian, a few teachers, and some students to come up with ideas on how to use less water during the summer. Ideas may include installing drought resistant gardens, using water-wise timers and other equipment.

    • The school could consider making a rain collection to water plants during the summer.

The number of fun “green” projects schools have come up with is endless! If you need help coming up with new ideas, contact Joshua or form a team to discuss your opportunities.


Other things to think about


Making OGS work for your school: Each school has its own needs, and each group of stakeholders (i.e. students, teachers, administrators, and parents) have their own set of desires for the school. For these reasons developing a successful OGS program requires finding the answers to the following questions:

  • What OGS goals blend well with existing curricula/lessons that teachers already have planned?


  • How can the PTA/PTO be of help, and do they have any parent-led projects that could integrate OGS?


  • Are there existing school-wide initiatives that support smart resource use? Can any of these initiatives be made better?


  • How are the custodian, kitchen and other support staff involved in OGS related projects? What new projects could they be in charge of?


  • Is there enough interest to have a “green team” of students, teachers and/or parents? What role will the team play at the school?


It takes a team to tango: Putting together a team of students, teachers and/or parents really isn’t that hard. Take the following into consideration:

  • You don’t need an official team if you use signup sheets for “green projects” at the school. As long as people know how to sign-up for each project (e.g. clipboards in the office, or google spreadsheet online), you will have a way to get it done! In this way EVERYONE is on the green team.


  • If you do organize an official “green team” they can have regular meetings to decide what to do, and how to do it. The team can move all your projects forward, and can even be the ones that fill out the Oregon Green Schools application and stay in contact with your OGS coordinator.


How to get started


Contact Joshua Frankel – greenschools@live.com / 541-636-0096. He is the local OGS coordinator, and he will get you everything you need including:

  • The Oregon Green Schools application.


  • The information you need to schedule your waste audit/garbage sort.


  • A list of sample goals.

*  We hope your school is the next certified Oregon Green School!  *

(This page was updated: 12/17/18.)

To visit the statewide OGS website: www.oregongreenschools.org