are the perfect place to recycle. They are a self-contained unit,
hosting both children and adults on a daily basis, and generate
their own waste. Whether it is from the teacher's lounge, the
hallways, or the cafeteria, properly placed recycling bins at
schools can genearate a lot of recyclable material.
starting a recycling program at school, you'll need to decide
on a few factors:
- Who will run the program?
Students? Teachers? Custodial Staff? Parents? Each
group has a unique take on recycling and may or may not be as
enthusiastic as you are about recycling. Student-led programs
raise enthusiasm amongst the students, like a "by the people,
for the people" effect. Teacher-run programs are better
for longevity, as the teachers are usually in the building for
more years than the students and can see that the program survives
from year to year. Custodial staff should always be involved
in school matters. Getting them on board for a recycling program
may seem like more work for them, but in the end it is beneficial
to all. Parental involvement is also crucial, as it transfers
good practices from the school to the home and beyond.
- What will you collect?
Take a look in the garbage sometime and note what you
see. If the school isn't generating a lot of aluminum cans,
it wouldn't make sense to collect them. If white paper is common,
then that's a good starting point. Find out what the most commonly
discarded items are and see if recycling opportunities for that
material is readily available in your area.
- How will you collect?
Schools seem to think that they need a bunch of fancy bins to
collect recycling, and without them nothing can be done. Nothing
is further from the truth! If it's not in the budget to buy
recycling bins, make some! Any container will work. What's most
important is the labeling. A garbage can marked for trash is
pretty self-explanatory. But if you put a sign on and above
the can that says "Recyclables Only", the chances
are far better that you'll get what you want. In a pinch, use
garbage cans, bags, cardboard boxes, or any other larger container
to collect recyclables. Just make sure to label it properly!
Don't just throw recycling bins out there and expect a program
to thrive. Get the students together for an assembly, or have
each teacher explain to their classes what is to be done. If
nobody knows how to do it, they will never do it!
- Where to take them?
In some areas, contracted haulers may take your recyclables.
There may be a fee involved for the service, but it's convenient
and involves minimal transportation of the material. For those
on a budget, the Authority's Big Blue Bins are always open.
You'll need a plan to get material there, as we can not pick
up from schools due to time constraints. Enlist the help of
teachers. custodial staff, parents, or even older students to
drive material to the bins on a regular basis.
Once you have a program in place,
it is important to make sure that it continues from year to year.
Student-led programs started as a senior project rarely succeed
after that student is gone. The best way to insure the legacy
of a recycling program is to have the involvement of all groups
represented at the school - students, teachers, and administration.
Without this cooperation, a school recycling program can never
be truly successful.