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Teacher Resources

If you're an educator, you've come to the right place! This is your one-stop shop for all of our waste reduction and recycling educational resources. Take a look at the sections below and let us know if you have any questions.

Skip ahead to any of these sections:

Eligible Schools

Santa Barbara County is proud to provide waste reduction and recycling support for schools located in the unincorporated areas of the county and in the City of Goleta. To see if your school qualifies for free services, please e-mail us or call (805) 882-3618.

Some local cities, such as the City of Santa Barbara and the City of Lompoc, also provide school recycling programs. Click here for a listing of the City Recycling Contacts.

Our Partners

Explore Ecology

The County offers free education through a contract with the local non-profit agency, Explore Ecology. Explore Ecology provides excellent hands-on waste reduction and composting education, including in-class lessons and field trips to the Art From Scrap ReUse Store. The program serves grades K through 12 countywide.

Art From Scrap Class

AFS Girl With Artwork

For more information or to arrange for a presentation, e-mail Environmental Education Program Coordinator Lydia Ballantine or call (805) 884-0459 ext. 2. Presentations are subject to availability.

Field Trips

Take an eye-opening trip to the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station, ReSource Center or Tajiguas Landfill to show your students where their trash ends up.

Landfill Tour Bus And Kids

Visit the Waste Reduction Tours page to learn more.

Before the tour, test your students' knowledge by taking the Landfill Pre-Quiz, appropriate for grades 3 through 8. (Click here for the Answer Sheet.)

Transfer Station Tour

We also offer a virtual tour for those learning and working from home. Check out our video tour below!

Success Stories

Explore Ecology has successfully impacted many schools and students throughout the county. Find out what the teachers had to say:

South County School Districts

Ellwood Elementary, Grade K/1, Samuels

"The presentation is an excellent reinforcement of the Earth Science component of our class curriculum. As always, I truly appreciate the tenacious hard work and dedication that is put forth by your organization. Thank you!"

Brandon Elementary, Grade 2, Hetrick

"Next Generation Science standards: environmental education, problem solving, earth science. You are such excellent presenters and educators. Thank you for sharing your expertise using perfectly appropriate management skills."

Worms and Kids

La Patera Elementary, Grade 3, Ino

"Our science program covers recycling, composting, plants and invertebrates. Both instructors had great classroom management skills and taught grade appropriate concepts. The lesson was clear and engaging."

North County School Districts

St. Louis de Montfort, Grade 2, Fuller

"Decomposition cycle illustrated how organic matter rots away. Nature's way of recycling. So fun looking at the compost. Great presentation packed with info about life sciences."

Kids And Composting Bin

Los Berros Elementary, Grade 4, Richards

"Next-Gen Science Standards: understanding observable properties of materials through analysis and classification."

Ralph Dunlap Elementary, Grade 5, Brown

"This presentation followed state standards and also helped make my students better global citizens. Love your programs."

St. Louis de Montfort, Grade 6, Woodfin

"Meets 6th grade curriculum, good use of 6th grade science terms. Engaged students and related to 6th grade class. Knowledgeable and was able to include students in participating in the conversation."

Classroom Kids Recycling

To schedule a presentation, visit Explore Ecology's website or contact their Education Team by e-mail or phone: (805) 884-0459.

Student Activities

Challenge your students' composting knowledge with our Compost Homework Assignment or test their vocabulary with our Recycling Terminology Sheet (best suited to grades 4 through 12).


For some fun visuals, we've pulled together our favorite YouTube waste reduction videos:

The Story of Stuff (Duration 21:25)

Story of Us

The Story of Bottled Water (Duration 8:05)

Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Electronics (Duration 7:47)

Story of Electronics

The Three R's (Duration: 2:51)

Three Rs Video

Don't Waste Your Waste (Duration: 5:47)

Don't Waste Your Waste Video

Too Good To Waste (Duration: 3:32)

Too Good To Waste Video

How a Landfill Works (Duration: 2:49)

How a Landfill Works Video 2

Make the Most of Compost! (Duration: 5:19)


Local Resources

For more information on our programs, check out our Recycling Assistance Flyer or browse through our Go Green and Save pamphlet. You'll also find tons of great info on our School Recycling page.

Want to learn more about food waste prevention and composting ? Download our comprehensive Food Forward: School Edition and Composting ABCs booklets.

Composting ABCs Cover

The videos below were made especially for schools with our local partners, Explore Ecology. These educational vignettes share how to make a difference in our local waste stream, for both kiddos and adults. They touch on local topics including the new ReSource Center, and how plastics are made from oil collected from oil rigs, just like the ones that we can see right off of our coastline.

Food Waste Lesson


Waste Reduction Lesson


Compost Lesson


Are you interested in updating the recycling containers at your school? Click here to learn how.

Pictures of containers

Want to know everything about recycling in Santa Barbara County? Take a peek at our Recycling Resource Guide.

Recycling Guide Cover

You can also view a short video on the services our Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division provides.

RRWMD Video 2014

Want even more resources? Check out our colleagues in the Bay Area,, to view different lesson plans and videos, create your own recycling signs, and more.


Find out how your school can apply for grants to fund environmental education programs, such as recycling, composting, general sustainability, and so much more!

Three Rs Scrabble Pic

For information on how to apply for each grant, click on the links provided: