Tips for Schools

Start Recycling Program

If we want to ensure our streams, rivers, and bays keep free of trash, we need to teach our children from an early age the beauty of nature and respect for its resources. Schools have an important role in setting standards and expectations on how to treat discarded materials as resources instead of wasting them. By integrating the students into the school’s approach, collaboratively checking the status quo, and defining goals and the means to get there, we create the needed sense of ownership to drive positive behaviors.


Recycling Will Help

Much of what pupils and teachers discard in school facilities and grounds (classrooms, cafeterias, offices, common areas …) is either food waste, paper, or cardboard. The rest, about one-tenth, is metal, glass, plastic and cartons. Nearly everything discarded at school can be recycled or composted. (New York City, 2015)

Recycling Builds the Economy

Economic value of recycling is often underestimated. In Alabama, about 26 manufacturers depend on recycled ressources, generating more than 6.6 Billions in years sales and employing more than 10,700 Alabama citizens (SERDC, 2010).

Things You Can Do

Set Up a Recycle Station at your School

Create a permanent recycling program starting with one station.

Triple Recycling Bin from Amazon

Make Recycling a School-Wide Activity

• Invite speakers to share on the topic, educate teachers and students alike
• Go on field trips to explore opportunities and best practices (other schools, colleges, companies…)
• Hold contests at your school (recycling song, implementation action, art, t-shirt, receptacle...)
• Contest in Huntsville: collecting plastic caps for 5 months (in 2013 28 schools participated)
• Special curriculum activities on earth day
•Have the older kids develop a training for the younger ones

Create a Green Team

Set up a green team or steering committee made of staff, students and administrators/ operators

Network with Nonprofits

• Connect with related non profit organisations for support and guidance. (like Keep Mobile Beautiful, Alabama PALS, Green Schools, Plastic Pollution Coalition
• Check your PTA for parents that work with non-profits or who are willing to help
• Consider cooperating with non-profit organisations in your recycle program, e.g.: UCP takes printer cartridges and electronics; South Alabama cooperates with Goodwill/Easterseals for picking up their recyclables

Buy Recycled Goods

When schools use recycled paper, it creates a large environmental benefit due to the amount of paper used for printing, copies, and homework. Even better when toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins come from recycled paper as well.

Great White 100% Recycled Copy Paper from Amazon

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Green Paper Products

The Alabama Outdoor Classroom Program provides free technical and organizational assistance for schools. They're Outdoor Classroom Toolbox includes grant opportunities.

Food Waste Alliance

EPA Classroom Material including
Quest for Less (K-8 Teachers Guide)
Recycle City (Game)
School Recycling Program
(PDF) Guide

Food Waste Alliance

A Guide for Implementing School Recycling Program (PDF) from Virginia Recycling Association

Food Waste Alliance

The Green Schools Alliance connects and empower schools worldwide to lead the transformation to a sustainable future.