Girl digging through soil
A student at Washington Montessori participates in the hands-on "Decomposer Detectives" lesson.

Leadership in Environmental Action Projects (LEAP) is a student action program that reduces, reuses and recycles trash from schools and communities and informs people about local solid waste and resource issues. LEAP uses student/community partnerships and cooperative learning to achieve these goals. The St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District, using landfill tipping fee surcharges, funds LEAP.

One of the most important concepts that LEAP communicates to students and teachers is the difference between linear systems, which most man-made systems are, and cyclical systems, which all of nature's systems are. Our goal is to help people begin to appreciate the integral role of energy—its use and conversion from one form to another—and start to look at products as resources rather than as trash. Through participation in field trips, activities and projects, students begin to see the inefficiency and waste of a linear system versus the benefits and practicality of cyclical systems—better for plants, people and the planet.

More information about the success that schools have had working with the LEAP program can be found in the LEAPing Into Action Case Study Book.


LEAP Lessons

Lessons from the LEAP program may include:

  • "Decomposers Detectives"
  • "Garbology 101"
  • "Living the 3Rs"
  • "Sustainability Shark Tank"
  • "Green or Greenwashing"
  • and many more!

LEAP lessons are available as one time on-demand lessons upon request.

They are free of charge to public and private schools in City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County.

Download a comprehensive list of LEAP lessons


Get Involved: Bring LEAP to Your School!

Waste Reduction Tool Kit
Educator Guide [3.05 MB]
Changing Labels Activity [1.61 MB]
Design a Bookmark Activity [865 KB]
Waste Assessment Survey [339 KB]
Composting Flyer [1.42 MB]
Recycling Flyer [989 KB]

The Waste Reduction Tool Kit is free and available for any teacher or educator to download and use in his or her classroom. The Strategies for Waste Reduction in Schools Educator Guide contains basic background information about solid waste issues and simple activities to get you started in the classroom. A sample Waste Assessment Survey provides educators with the questions they need to ask about waste in their school. Flyers showing proper recycling and composting techniques are also included in the Tool Kit. (High resolution files of the flyers are also available.)

To participate in the LEAP program, book an on-demand classroom visit or get more information about the Waste Reduction Tool Kit please email or call (314) 577-0281.

Special thanks to the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District for helping to support the LEAP program and the development of the Waste Reduction Tool Kit.