Tips For School Recycling Programs | Waste Wise Products

Tips For School Recycling Programs

Today’s students are tomorrow’s parents, business leaders and politicians. The things we teach them now affect how they will run the world in the future. No student’s future is going to be changed by knowing that William Taft was the 27th president, but schools can make an impact on kids’ lives by teaching them about recycling. Paper recycling bins are an easy and inexpensive way to drive that lesson home.

Start With A Plan

You can’t just throw out a bunch of paper recycling bins and expect the program to take off. Ideally you’ll want bins in every classroom but schools on tight budgets might have to settle for centralized collections in the hallways. Talk to your waste management service or community recycling organizations to figure out how the paper is going to end up at the recycling plants.

Put together a written plan that covers everything from the paper going into the bin to the recyclables being offloaded at the recycling facility. Take input from everyone concerned. You don’t want to set up a thousand bins only to be told by the custodians that they don’t have the manpower to empty them all. Formally educate the staff and students on proper recycling procedures rather than assuming people will just know.

Schools Are Different

Although a standard business recycling plan would serve a school, it won’t consider the unique needs of the facility. You don’t want to pay for recycling services during the summer months when school isn’t in session, nor do you want the recycler to forget about picking up again in the fall. Make sure whoever is picking up the contents of paper recycling bins knows when school stops and starts.

Speaking of breaks, remember that students are notorious for emptying their minds over extended vacations. You’d be surprised how often schools find that recycling drops precipitously after summer break. You have new kids coming in each year and even the returning students may have gotten apathetic about recycling while away from school. Remind everyone about proper recycling habits after summer, winter and spring breaks.

Don’t Bore The Students

Consider your audience. Some of your students may care about the environment but many of them won’t. You need to appeal to their selfish natures and make it fun. Have a party at the start of the event. Make it a big deal to grab student attention. Get the popular students interested in the program so students will see is as something their friends are doing rather than a chore the teachers are nagging them about. Use peer pressure to your advantage!

Keep it fun by holding contests to see which classrooms can fill up paper recycling bins the fastest. Awards don’t have to cost the school anything. A mention on the school website can be all it takes to inspire students to work a little harder.

Paper recycling bins lower the school’s costs — recycling services are usually cheaper than trash services — and teach the students a valuable life lesson about responsible waste disposal.

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