Tips for running a successful school recycling program

Here are some tips to help you create or improve your schools recycling program: 

  1. Form a Team
    • Talk with faculty, staff and students about the recycling program and how it can make a positive impact. Clarify what the program goals are, i.e. reducing contamination, diverting more materials from landfill etc.
    • Set up a recycling team and get students involved! Students love to help.
    • Appoint someone as the leader of the recycling team to help coordinate recycling efforts.
  2. Find Out What You Can Recycle
    • Find out what you can and can’t recycle by contacting your recycling hauler/processor.
    • Conduct a waste audit to learn exactly what materials from your waste stream can be recycled, composted or thrown away. This is a key step to understanding how to reduce the amount of trash going to the landfill.
    • Common recyclables found in schools are:
    • Paper and cardboard
    • Beverage bottles, cans and cartons
    • Electronics 
  3. Organize Collection Procedures
    • Place a recycling bin in each classroom and office. Classroom bins can be as simple as a cardboard box or plastic tub.
    • Pair all existing garbage bins in the school with a recycling bin.
    • Be sure to place larger recycling bins in other communal areas like printer/copy machine areas, break rooms and cafeterias.
    • Create a system to manage any residual liquids remaining in beverage containers before they are recycled.
    • Consider adding a compost bin to help with organic materials.
    • Identify who will be responsible for collecting the recyclables and transporting them to the exterior collection container. Provide custodians with collection procedure instructions or develop a plan with students and faculty to share recycling duties.
  4. Educate
    • Make sure there are sufficient visual aids (posters, bin labels) to inform students and the rest of the school population of what is and is not recyclable.
    • Label recycling bins with the words, “Recycle,” or “Recycling Only.”
    • On the bin or a nearby wall, post an accepted materials list like our “Recycle Like Michael” poster.

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If your school has a social media account, feel free to tag us in your recycling/environment related posts! We’d love to see your school’s recycling program in action!






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