The New York City Department of Sanitation announced the winning schools in the inaugural Zero Waste Schools Awards program. The awards recognize city schools for completing educational projects on recycling, waste reduction and reuse, gardening, and neighborhood beautification.
The categories and winners include:

  • The DSNY Commissioner’s Cup – an award recognizing sustainability efforts, projects and improvement in school recycling, chosen by the DSNY Commissioner’s Office – presented to John F. Kennedy Jr. School, (Q721), Queen
  • GrowNYC Recycling Champions Program’s Super Recyclers – honoring model school recycling programs – winners include PS90 Edna Cohen School, Brooklyn; MS 839, Brooklyn; and Central Park East High School, Manhattan
  • Materials For the Arts Reuse Challenge – recognizing innovative waste reduction practices – winners include PS90 Edna Cohen School, Brooklyn; J.H.S. 217 Robert A. Van Wyck, Queens; and P721K, the Roy Campanella Occupational Training Center School, Brooklyn
  • Zero Waste Schools Challenge – A new compliance and data-driven contest specifically for the first 100 Zero Waste Schools – presented to P.S. 169, Brooklyn
  • Citizen’s Committee for NYC’s Team Up to Clean Up Contest – a DSNY contest since 1979, DSNY partner’s with CCNYC to encourage students to clean up and beautify their schools and neighborhoods – winners include PS 89 Elmhurst, Queens; J.H.S. 217 Robert A. Van Wyck, Queens; and Maspeth High School, Queens
  • Launched in November 2016, the Department of Sanitation, along with the NYC Department of Education, and GrowNYC Recycling Champions Program, developed an online platform focused on recycling and sustainability in schools at Zero Waste Schools website and awards build upon the Department’s former Golden Apple Awards, continuing the contests, but capturing the attention of 21st century students through the use of our own social media platform.

“Young people are the creative future of our City, and they are leading us on the path to Zero Waste through proper recycling, waste reduction and environmental stewardship,” said Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “By using the Zero Waste Schools Website, teachers and students have created an online community of sustainability-minded schools inspiring and teaching each other through their projects and accomplishments.”
In each of the Zero Waste Schools contests, schools competed within their elementary, intermediate, or high school grade divisions for citywide honors by conceiving and completing hands-on applied learning projects. Citywide winners are awarded $1,000 and runners-up garner $500.

To see the winning entries and more information about the Zero Waste Schools Awards, visit