Secrets to a successful recycling program at school
The secret to a successful recycling program is actually pretty simple and can be outlined in these eight steps:
Do A Little Research
Conducting a “waste audit” for your campus will show you how much waste is being created and how much could be recycled. (For instance, during a waste audit, you may notice that a trash dumpster is more than half full of recyclable cardboard and paper.) This waste audit will also let you know whether your school is paying more for disposal service than it needs.
Get Your Administration’s Support
Having your school administration’s support is very important for the success of the program. Your proposal should include the monthly volume of waste generated, the current cost of disposal, a list of recyclables to consider, and potential benefits to the students, staff, and the Texas law requires that school districts have a recycling program, so it is good to include a summary of this law, as well (Texas Health and Safety Code, Section 361.425, Governmental Entity Recycling). This should do it to get them on board.
Pick a Recycling Coordinator for Your School
A faculty or staff person will need to head up your recycling program. The coordinator will need to be enthusiastic and also have good communication and organizational skills.
Select a Recycling Committee
Recruiting support for your recycling program might include a diverse range from individuals in your campus. In fact, the more diverse your committee, the more likely your program is to succeed. Consider including custodial staff, cafeteria staff, teachers, students, business managers, and parents on your committee.
Develop a Plan for Your Collection System
- Once you have decided what materials will be collected, you will need to make these decisions:
- Where will you be collecting the recycling material? This might include classrooms, break rooms, the cafeteria, and offices.
- What type of containers will be needed at each collection point? Remember – you don’t necessarily have to purchase new containers. You can often use existing containers just by labeling them for recycling.
- Who will be picking up handling recyclables? Will the committee be collecting materials, custodial staff, or a combination of both?
- Where will recycling be stored prior to pickup? Some schools have a gated area with a designated recycling bin near trash dumpsters, while others have blue carts.
- Who will be collecting your recycling? Contact the City of Laredo’s Solid Waste Services Recycling Program at 796-1098 or 795-2510 to arrange for pickup service at your school.
Kick Off the Program
Your kickoff plan needs to include a logo or slogan for your school recycling program, posters and signs, flyers for teachers and other staff members, announcements to students, information for parent newsletters, and even events, such as a school-wide pep rally or contest. Remember – students and staff need to know how the program works and need to be encouraged to participate.
Reinforce the Recycling Habit
Regular reminders will keep participation high and minimize problems with the recycling program. Keep everyone updated and excited by sharing the program results.
Monitor and Evaluate Progress
Respond quickly and appropriately to problems. Make regular evaluations of the program. When you identify programs, correct them quickly whether that means improving signing, training staff members, or making containers more convenient. With attention, your recycling program can be a success year after year.