Don't Be Last To Join In: Recycle Today
Adapted from Recycling Makes Sen$e For Your School, Pennsylvania Resources Council
Back to Trash Goes To School

social studies
public speaking
CONCEPT: Planning, organizing, and implementing a paper recycling program.
OBJECTIVE: To implement recycling in your school system.
containers or bins for collecting recyclables
KEYWORDS: waste reduction, implementation
Why recycle?
Because recycling...
* Conserves energy and natural resources.
* Creates public awareness of conservation needs.
* Gives students hands-on experience with a small business.
* Provides a solution to the problem of litter and solid waste reduction.
1. Organize an initial research committee to find out:
a. The interest level within the school and community.
b. The amount of help you can count on from teachers - preferably those who have been involved with recycling, e.g., paper drive for Scouts and churches.
c. The possible cooperation of the principal, and his or her willingness for school-wide participation. It is essential to the success of your program to get the support of the custodial staff as well.
d. What activities students are already involved in and how much time they can devote (study halls, after school, weekends) to recycling.
e. What materials can be recycled in school and in the community.
f. What students know about recycling.
2. Research your market (where can you sell recyclables nearby, and what are they paying?)
a. Contact scrap dealers and other buyers of recyclables.
b. Find out what materials they accept, how they want them prepared, the minimum quantities accepted, and how much they will pay for them.
c. Find out if they will provide containers or assist in transporting the recyclables.
d. Decide what materials you will collect.
e. Contact local government agencies that deal with solid waste and recycling (e.g. Cooperative Extension, the Environmental Management Council, the Solid Waste Division).
3. Determine equipment and facilities needed and how much to fund them.
a. Identify safe areas around the school that could be used for collection and storage. Check fire safety standards with the fire inspector.
b. Decide on one or two places where you can site your recycling operation.
c. Investigate types of storage containers and bins, find out where to get them.
d. Realize the starting cost (approx. $150)
e. Discuss preliminary fund raiser possibilities. Select and conduct one.
4. Decide how the recycling operation will be run.
a. Will it be a drop-off center or staffed?
If staffed, who will staff it?
Students or teachers?
Parental aid if permitted?
b. How many people are needed?
c. What days will the center be open?
d. What will the hours be?
5. Write proposal for principal.
Include the information you have gathered from your committee's research:
a. interest level
b. type of operation
c. location sites
d. staffing solution
e. fund raising potential
6. Get school board approval if needed.
a. If required, have committee write a proposal for principal to submit to the school board.
b. Start with initial proposal given to the principal, include all information again and be sure to list sources in school for materials.
c. Important because...
i. With school board approval, activity has the status of a school function.
ii. As a school function, teachers are relieved of primary legal liability.
7. Decide how recyclables will be collected.
a. Talk to local collectors to find out their requirements (e.g. how paper should be sorted, what kinds of glass may be recycled, etc.).
b. Put a recycling box for clean scrap in classrooms and offices, next to wastebaskets for other materials.
c. If there is a school store or soda machine, put containers for aluminum cans next to the machines.
8. Develop a plan of operation.
a. Choose a permanent committee of directors.
i. Include: roughly 10 teachers, 15-20 students, 1 administrator, (3-5 parents depending on school policy).
ii. Define responsibilities of the directors.
b. Set procedures for students involved in staffing the center.
c. Decide how to publicize the recycling program.
9. Present a plan to the faculty.
a. After school board or principal approval, at the next scheduled faculty meeting, hand out ditto with detailed facts about the recycling center.
b. Explain how the recyclables are prepared.
c. Give a few remarks emphasizing the center's value to the school and community.
d. Allow time for a question and answer session.
10. Present plan to the students.
a. Hold an assembly to:
i. show the need for recycling
ii. give information on other centers
iii. tell how the center is to work
iv. tell how they can help
b. Have a peer teaching program to keep people updated.
c. Announce (for a week) a meeting for all students interested in helping at the center.
11. Publicize the program.
a. Make sure students and staff are educated and periodically updated about the program.
b. Schedule a poster contest with students.
c. Put information in the local paper (run a contest for the best articles and have the winners published).
d. Never underestimate the power of "word-of-mouth" publicity.
12. Maintain reliability.
a. Keep regular hours. Be open when you are scheduled to be.
b. If your center is staffed, make certain volunteers are present when scheduled.
c. Make certain containers are available for collection and are emptied regularly.
d. Keep your collection center tidy.
13. Evaluate the program.
a. How much material is being collected?
b. How much does it cost to run the program?
c. What problems have developed?
Expand your recycling operation and encourage involvement by others from your school.
Back to top