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FAQ's Print E-mail
Q: What materials can I recycle at my school?

A: District schools and facilities are currently using the City of Edmonton recycle services and can place the following items in their recycle bin:

  • Paper products
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Plastic bags and plastic containers
  • Glass jars and bottles
  • Drink containers
  • Light metals including tin, aluminum, and metal (i.e. cans, small containers, etc.)

For more information and a poster of what is accepted, please click on the following link: Commercial Recycling.


Q: What can be composted in a school?

A: Edmonton Public Schools are using the commercial composting service through the City of Edmonton Waste Management Branch and have access to compost many materials in their standard waste stream. Included in compostables are:

  • Food preparation scraps
  • Fruit and vegetable peelings
  • Meat
  • Wood chips/sawdust
  • Hair
  • Wet paper towels or napkins (with no cleaning chemicals)
  • Liquid organics or grease
  • Napkins
  • Wet cardboard (e.g. pizza boxes)

Q: Can shredded paper be recycled?

A: Edmonton Public Schools that have a garbage bin can place their shredded paper in a clear bag and place it in the garbage bin along with other general waste.  The bag is required to keep the paper from flying out during a windy day, or when dumping the bin into the truck.  Instead of being recycled with other paper products, shredded paper is turned into useable compost by the City of Edmonton.

Schools that use a contracted shredding service can also be assured that the shredding companies are obligated by our district to send the paper for recycling.


Q: What is Earth Overshoot Day?

A: Global Footprint Network, who provide us with personal ecological footprint calculators, has computed the date for each year that "humanity will have demanded all the ecological services - from filtering CO2 to producing the raw materials for food - that nature can provide this year." After this date we are using more than nature can provide or regenerate within that time span.

A further explanation of this date and its significance, as well as access to the footprint calculator, can be found at the following website: Earth Overshoot Day


Q: What is greenwashing?

A: According to TerraChoice, an environmental marketing agency, the term "greenwashing" refers to the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.

A description of the types of greenwashing and some examples are provided on the following website: http://sinsofgreenwashing.org/


Q: How much energy do video game systems use?

A: NRDC and Ecos Consulting performed the first ever comprehensive study on the energy use of video game consoles and found that they consumed an estimated 16 billion kilowatt-hours per year-roughly equal to the annual electricity use of the city of San Diego.

This dramatic figure stems from the increased number of video games installed in American homes, the higher power levels needed to operate many of the latest models, and the assumption that half of all users leave their consoles on all the time. A Sony PlayStation 3 or Microsoft Xbox 360 left on 24 hours per day, seven days per week will consume as much electricity each year as two new refrigerators.


Q: How are compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) better than incandescent?

A: Incandescent bulbs waste 95% of the electricity that they consume as heat. CFL's not only use less energy to provide light, but they also last longer than incandescent lights.


Q: Are CFL bulbs dangerous to the environment?

A: CFL bulbs have a minute amount of mercury. However, there is no mercury released when the bulbs are in use. It is important that CFL bulbs not be thrown in the regular garbage. All household hazardous waste (CFL bulbs, batteries, old cell phones, etc.) should be disposed of properly. You can also bring spent bulbs to Home Depot stores.


Q: Do computer screen savers save energy?

A: On the older computer monitors there was some savings, but the main purpose of the screen saver was to prevent "image burn-in". The new flat screen monitors use as much energy when black as they do when fully lit. The best way to save energy with a computer monitor is to turn it off manually or automatically after 10 minutes of non-use. It will restart quickly when turned on again.

When leaving your computer also get in the habit of turning off the monitor and then start saving!


Q: How much power does a personal computer use, and how can I reduce its energy consumption?

A: The average computer uses between 50 to 250 watts.  Working offline and setting your computer to go into sleep/stand-by mode during inactivity is an ideal way to reduce energy consumption. Remember that laptop computers normally use a fraction of the energy of workstation models.


Q: What is an environmentally friendly computer?

A: Many computer manufacturers are improving their computers' environmental aspects by focusing on reductions during the manufacturing, packaging, use and eventual disposal of their products. Manufacturers are building more environmentally friendly models containing fewer potentially harmful components like lead, mercury and cadmium. They are packaging the products in smaller cases which means smaller shipping cartons and waste. Models are designed to use less energy while operating.

Manufacturers are also making the cases with materials that will allow for recycling, or for faster breakdown in landfills. One manufacturer, MicroPro Computers, has created the IAMECO (pronounced - I am eco) model computer with major components including the body, keyboard casing and mouse, made out of recycled wood.


Q: Do schools pay all the costs for the recycling of fluorescent lamps (tubes)?

A: Schools pay a portion of the recycling fee for the fluorescent tubes, however, the Facilities Department subsidizes the cost of pick-up and recycling to ensure that the cost to schools is kept reasonable and that the lamps are kept out of landfills.