Whether you are implementing a new school recycling program or maybe just looking to improve your current recycling situation- look no further! Here are 3 ways to increase your school’s recycling. There is no question that the things we learn in school stay with us for the rest of our lives. This is why it’s so important to instill proper recycling practices in students’ minds from an early age. CleanRiver believes that schools should be ground zero when it comes to producing environmentally active members of society. Recycling skills that are learned and developed in school will be used to help students make better waste decisions in the future! Schools should see recycling as an educational opportunity that encourages sustainable behaviour in students and staff, both in and outside of the classroom! There is also tremendous potential for your educational facility to not only become more resource efficient, but also generate revenue simply by participating in an effective recycling program. So let’s not waste another minute and jump right into 3 ways to increase school recycling:

1. Educate Students and Staff About the Recycling Program

students, staff, communication The best way to increase participation in your school's recycling program is through education. Effective communication is a great way to get people excited about the school’s recycling initiatives! Frequently update staff and students about where the recycling bins are located and remind them of the proper use. This can be done using announcements, e-mails, and flyers posted around the school. Provide opportunities for students, staff, and parents to ask questions about your recycling program and look for feedback on how to improve it. Students may provide constructive feedback on where they think a bin should be located and what items they want to be included in that bin. Listening to feedback will make sure that you’re getting the most out of your recycling efforts! It’s important to provide frequent updates on the progress of your recycling program and the positive impact that it is having on your school. Students and staff want to hear about the differences they are making- so don’t be shy to acknowledge your school’s recycling efforts and to acknowledge the progress that they are making!

2. Form a Green Team at Your School

students, running out of time, protestPut together a Green Team that consists of various stakeholders across the school. Members should include not only students but parents, teachers, custodial staff, and administrative staff. Be inclusive when choosing the members of this team in order to build ownership for the program and shared responsibility for success. The Green Team should be a key driver for promoting your school's recycling program. The team can communicate the school’s sustainability messages through various platforms:
  • Assemblies
  • Newsletters
  • E-mails
  • Tent cards in cafeterias
  • Educational posters in classrooms, hallways, and lounges
The team can also host activities and events throughout the school year to get the student body engaged and excited about your school’s recycling program. A great example of an activity to get students involved is conducting a waste audit in order to gather insight into your school's current recycling situation. Another example is to run an e-waste recycling fundraiser where students can drop-off old cellphones and electronic equipment that can properly be disposed of.

3. Update the Graphics on Your Recycling Bins

[caption id="attachment_7964" align="alignright" width="400"]graphics, labels, text CleanRiver's Transition® TPM 36[/caption] Having effective graphics is one of the most crucial elements of a school recycling program. A study performed by the University of Toronto showed that effective bin signage can increase waste diversion rates by up to 163%! As pictures are more effective than text alone, it is of utmost importance that the graphics on your school's recycling bins are staying relevant and attractive. Graphics must be clear, at eye level, colorful, and kept simple with just 3-6 images maximum. The bin signage can even include school-specific waste images that can help students and staff make the right choice when deciding where to toss their trash. You can choose common items you and your Green Team see that are being tossed into your recycling bins and can use these as images of where certain items belong (for example, beverage containers should go into recycling while straws should go into the trash stream).

Be sure to check out CleanRiver’s updated Book of Recycling Graphics for ideas on how you can update your schools recycling graphics and to refresh the look of your bins.
For more information on school recycling programs, check out our other blogs: Starting a recycling program at your school? Check out our eBook.

Campus Recycling Program

CleanRiver Recycling provides a variety of innovative, flexible and customizable recycling solutions. To determine the right solution to meet your needs, use the CleanRiver product selector. If you have additional questions that weren’t answered in this blog post please call us at 1-866-479-4038 or email solutions@cleanriver.com.