Lincoln Middle School introduced a student-designed cafeteria recycling system Monday that could be a model for reducing waste throughout Portland schools.

Superintendent Jim Morse joined students, school staff, parents and others at the school to kick off the pilot program.

Students created a separation system for recycling paper-based lunch trays, milk cartons and other items.

The recycling program is a joint effort by the school district, Huhtamaki Packaging of Waterville, which donated several thousand trays made of recycled paper, and the KIDS Consortium of Auburn, which gave a $750 Green School grant for the project.

The idea of replacing the old trays with recyclable ones arose from a service-learning project at Lyman Moore Middle School.

Robert Lindsay, a science teacher at Lincoln, worked with his seventh-graders to design the recycling program.