How one year, a lot of hard work and enthusiastic employees have helped NBCUniversal become a littler greener.

Roughly 28 tons of waste has been diverted from the landfill over the past year at Universal City, thanks in large part to a group that hasn’t even turned six years old.

As part of NBCUniversal’s cross company sustainability initiative, Green is Universal, the Universal Studios Child Care Center, managed by Bright Horizons, has embarked on a reduce, reuse and recycle program, which coupled with an offsite composting operation, has resulted in the recycling or reuse of 90% of its waste.

Throughout the year, the administration, teachers and children have been reducing what they throw away, reusing what they can and separating the food and other compostable products like arts and craft paper from other waste once they are finished. Containers and packaging are finding new life as elements of the play and learning are invented for what was once trash. Real cups, plates, bowls and flatware are used where possible instead of disposable items creating more waste.

Administrative Director Carolyn Sanders said, “Going ‘green’ is a natural concept for children to grasp – they are naturally curious, want to help and love the outdoors. With their appreciation for how things grow and where things come from, introducing the practice of composting and recycling to reduce waste by using the motto ‘If it was once a plant, it belongs in this bin,’ was something the teachers could do easily. We have a lot of passion around this topic, so with Administration’s support, both the teachers and children embraced it immediately.”

The waste vendor Crown Disposal, already serving comprehensive food waste diversion program across Universal City, facilitates the composting part of the process along with Max Liles, whose son attends the childcare center. Liles, the Director of Environmental Affairs as part of NBCUniversal’s Environmental Health & Safety department said, “It was sort of a eureka moment when I realized that with a few adjustments, the center’s waste could meet the composting criteria. And then when I met with the center to introduce the idea and saw all the other sustainable practices they’d already implemented, I knew we were onto something substantial.”

All this effort and awareness then comes full circle when everyone sees how the certified compost returns and helps nourish and grow the plants that are all around the center.

Photographed by Moses Sparks. Scraping food to be composted is a daily part of the routine at the NBCUniversal Universal City childcare center

Photographed by Moses Sparks. NBCUniversal's childcare center recycles

Photographed by Moses Sparks. The children use the certified compost from their food and paper waste to feed the plants.