Guide on How to Start an Effective School Recycling Program


Creating a more sustainable society starts with changing our habits, even small ones, for a brighter future. It’s crucial to teach kids early about being environmentally responsible. Schools play a vital role in this, serving as hubs for producing eco-conscious citizens. Implementing effective school recycling programs not only reduces waste and pollution but also saves money and educates students about sustainability.

Don’t wait any longer—begin now with our easy 5-step guide to kickstart amazing recycling programs for schools!

How to Start a Recycling Program at School

Get Ample Support for Your Recycling Program

Doing some digging can really help! If you’re short on cash to kickstart a school recycling program, don’t fret. Look into startup grants from your state or province. Whether it’s a green grant for recycling ventures or other programs, there’s plenty of funding up for grabs. Just do a bit of research to see which ones you qualify for.

Make sure everyone’s on the same page! Talk to janitors, teachers, students, and involved parents, like lunch monitors, about starting a recycling program at school. Have meetings with staff, students, and the PTA to chat about why recycling matters, how it can help, and any past experiences. Share ideas, discuss funding, and decide on the first steps together.

Round Up Your Team

Gather people from different parts of the school like teachers, parents, and custodial staff. It’s easier when everyone is on board from the start. Don’t forget to include students too, so everyone feels involved and responsible.

  • Conduct a Waste Audit: Check out the waste in your school. Look for what can be recycled and composted.
  • Make a Recycling and Composting List: Write down what can be recycled and composted at your school.
  • Talk to Your Waste Hauler: Have a chat with the people who take away your waste. See if there are any ways to make money through recycling rebates.

How to Properly Segregate Trash

  • Decide Collection Points and Streams: Figure out where you’ll put recycling bins and how many types of waste you’ll collect. Consider both indoor and outdoor areas.
  • Choose Recycling Bins: Pick bins that fit your needs in terms of size, location, and if they’re Future-Ready. Make sure to use consistent colors and signage throughout the school.
  • Consider Capacity and Location: Think about how much waste each area generates and where bins will be most useful.
  • Be Consistent with Signage and Colors: Use clear signs and colors to help students know what goes where.
  • Select Appropriate Bins for Each Room: Make sure bins have lids and openings that encourage proper sorting. For example, elementary classrooms might need bins with openings for food waste along with colors that match the school-wide system.
  • Make sure your graphics are spot-on: They’re not just for showing students what to recycle but also for spreading the word about sustainability. Design your own graphics based on what your team finds tricky in the waste audit, and let students help pick what goes on the bins to help them learn.

Promote The Recycling Program

Let’s make sure everyone knows about our school’s new recycling program! We’re spreading the word through different channels:

  • Assemblies: We’ll have special gatherings where we talk about the importance of recycling and introduce our program.
  • Newsletters: Keep an eye out for updates in our newsletters. We’ll share tips, news, and success stories about our recycling efforts.
  • Tent cards in cafeterias: Look for these cards on tables in the cafeteria. They’ll remind everyone about what can be recycled and how to do it right.
  • Educational posters: You’ll see colorful posters in classrooms and hallways. They’ll teach us about recycling, sustainability, and why it’s crucial to divert waste from landfills.
  • Emails: We’ll send emails to staff and parents to keep them informed and engaged in our recycling journey.

Let’s get our teachers involved too! They’ll help by:

  • Setting clear expectations: Teachers will explain to students how to properly separate waste in class and why our recycling program matters.
  • Including lessons and activities: We’ll have fun lessons and activities about recycling, sustainability, and reducing waste. It’s all about learning and taking action to protect our planet!

Analyze and Adjust

Make sure to chat regularly with the cleaning team to see how our recycling plan is going from their point of view. Are they facing any problems with people not sorting their recycling properly? Do we need to adjust how much room we have for certain types of recycling? If we’re using bins that can change in size, we can adjust our plan as we go along. Don’t forget to set up regular check-ins.

Let’s cheer on and tell everyone about the little successes of our recycling plan—students, teachers, and parents alike!

If our school starts making some money from recycling, we can use it for cool activities like field trips, inviting special guests, or throwing family events.

Start a Compelling School Recycling Program Today

Let’s work together to make our school greener and cleaner. Get everyone involved, from students to janitors. Spread the word about recycling through assemblies, newsletters, and posters. Teach kids why it’s important and how to do it right. Keep checking in to see how we’re doing and celebrate our successes. Let’s make a difference and build a better future, one small step at a time!

Scroll to Top