To Qualify:

  • Participants in the program are by individual school, not a school district.

  • Each state-accredited school in Elkhart County will have a chance to complete an Intent to Participate Form. The registration period will close once 25 schools have completed the form. 

  • A total of 25 schools will be able to participate in the 2021 Fall Semester program. Schools will enter the program on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Every school must have a Green Ambassador to fill out the Intent to Participate Form.

  • A Green Ambassador will be the contact point person for the landfill and will be responsible for submitting semester reports to the landfill to qualify for credits and cash prizes.

About the Credits:

  • One credit is equal to $250.

    • A school can earn up to four credits ($1,000) in their first semester participating in the GSI program.

    • A school can earn up to eight credits ($2,000) in their second semester participating in the GSI program. 

    • A school can earn up to twelve credits ($3,000) in their third semester participating in the GSI program. Twelve credits are the maximum amount of credits a school can receive.

  • Semester reports for Fall 2021 are due  December 17th, 2021. Learn more about semester reports by visiting our Challenges page.

Please Note:

  • Schools must re-submit an Intent to Participate form each semester.

  • Schools must show continuous improvement to be eligible to participate in the following semester. By "continuous improvement," we mean that schools must accomplish, at a minimum, an additional one credit from their previous participatory semester.

  • Schools must provide verification requirements from previously completed challenges for every semester they participate

  • It is anticipated that schools will complete more and more challenges over time; consequently, the school's prize earnings will accumulate over time. For example, if a school earns two credits ($500) in their first semester, and then maintains that effort and earns two additional credits from different challenges in the following semester, their total credits will equal four credits in their second semester ($1,000). Therefore, in two semesters, the school would have earned a total of $1,500.

  • Once a school completes twelve credits ($3,000), the school will become Gold-Leaf Certified by the Solid Waste Management District, will graduate from the program, and will no longer be eligible to participate or receive credits.

  • Schools have a maximum of six participatory semesters (three academic years) to achieve the Gold-Leaf certification.


Start a teacher recycling team, and from there, your school can earn cash prizes by completing a list of challenges! 

On top of that, after accomplishing a number of challenges, your school will also receive recycling tools, such as classroom blue bins or compost supplies.


With over 30 recycling-related lesson plans that apply to Indiana state standards, among other resource items, the SWMD will empower teachers, students, and administrators to create a culture of recycling at their school.


For every additional credit your school earns in a semester, your cash reward will accumulate. You could eventually earn up to $3,000 in one semester!

Use that money for classroom supplies, playground equipment, or anything that will make your school a better place for students.


The Elkhart County Green Schools Initiative is a program created by Elkhart County Solid Waste to educate and promote recycling and other eco-friendly behaviors in K-12 students throughout Elkhart County.  Whether it's building a school compost garden or simply placing recycling bins in classrooms, there are plenty of ways for schools to earn cash and rewards that will help make their school a better place for teachers and students! Submit an Intent to Participate Form to get started, and sign up below!


  • 4 categories (Recycling; Waste Reduction; Food Waste/Compost; Classroom Activities)

  • Several challenges in each category

  • Each challenge equals either 1 or 2 credits; each credit equals $250

  • Complete more and more challenges, and your school will see credits accumulate over time, eventually being able to earn $3,000 in one semester!