Set up a recycling program at school
Whether starting from scratch or making improvements to an existing program, keep the following tips in mind:
- Have a dedicated team (e.g. green club) and the support of school administrators.
- Conduct a waste audit to better understand what is being thrown out.
- Determine what materials will be collected, and whether they can be co-mingled or must be kept separate.
- Always place recycling bins next to trash cans.
- Clearly label recycling containers, and if possible, purchase bins with lids shaped to accommodate recyclables.
- Have a clear plan for how bins will be emptied regularly.
- Educate students, staff, and faculty regularly.
- Keep it as simple and straightforward as possible!
Recycling other items:
Not all recyclable materials are collected by your local waste hauler. Nonetheless, additional materials can be recycled. Check out programs like Terracycle to reduce your school's waste stream even more!
- With administrative approval, put "These Come From Trees" stickers on paper towel dispensers, printers, and copiers. K-12 school are eligible to order them for free here.
- Make double-sided copies the default on printers and copiers.
- Share subscriptions to periodicals.
- Set up classroom vermicomposting bins.
- Switch to reusable materials in the cafeteria (e.g. utensils).
- Buy institutional sizes of cleaning supplies, food, beverages, and other supplies. These can then be packaged into smaller, reusable dispensers.
- Implement an "offer" versus "serve" program in the cafeteria.
- Use reusable envelopes for interoffice mail.
- Refill toner cartridges.
- Use scrap paper for notes. Notepads can be made with a wax binder; notebooks can be made with other binding machines.
- Encourage students who bring their lunch to pack it in reusable materials.
- On a locker clean-out day, have a donation table for usable items that students would otherwise discard.