Youth programs

girl holding a magnifying glass, looking at a wormThurston County Solid Waste has the resources and tools to help youth reduce waste! We provide materials and presentations focusing on waste reduction, recycling, natural resources, hazardous waste, and more.

Classroom presentations

Thurston County Solid Waste offers free, high-quality, interactive presentations to teach K–8 students about recycling, composting, sustainability, waste reduction, solid waste management and hazardous household products. We also provide students with opportunities to earn community service hours, and help them gather information for their environmental projects.

Check out our environmental education program brochure for an overview of our latest offerings. Refer to the following information sheets to find the education standards each lesson supports, as well as potential pre and post activities you can do within your class. For more information, e-mail Colleen Minion at or call (360) 867-2280.


Food to Flowers program

Schools throw away a lot of stuff, and most of it is food. Food to Flowers helps public and private K–12 schools in Thurston County prevent waste by eliminating disposables and implementing strategies to reduce food waste. We also help schools set up and improve their recycling and composting programs. Our support can include technical assistance and program supplies and equipment. To learn more, contact Peter Guttchen at (360) 867-2283 or


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (RRR) Patch


Thurston County Solid Waste offers the RRR Patch Program. The program is designed to teach youth the meaning and potential actions behind the phrase reduce, reuse, and recycle. The patch program encourages scouts and other youth to take action to take better care of their environment and neighborhood.

Your group must be based in Thurston County to be eligible to earn the patch.

Click on the links below to learn how to earn your RRR patch.


Youth organizations

Presentations for after-school programs, groups, and camps
These free presentations are a great way to offer enriching experiences to youth in your programs. We use visual aids in various media, art, hands-on activities, games, and take-home materials to help students learn while having fun.

Other resources
Click below on your organization to find out which badges and patches you can earn through either a presentation by our staff or by working towards an RRR Patch.


Trash Talk newsletter for students

trash talk iconFourth and 5th grade students in Thurston County get their own Trash Talk publication delivered to the classroom. It features information on recycling, reuse, household hazardous waste, yard waste, waste reduction, and more. The newsletter is informative while offering activities like word searches, crossword puzzles, and other games to make learning more fun!

Read the latest Trash Talk or browse past editions.


Lending library

Our library has a wide variety of waste reduction and recycling books and media for all ages. To borrow from our lending library, call Colleen Minion, (360) 867-2280 or email Browse the lending library.




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