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Schools: End of Year Recycling Guide

Reduce the amount of trash your school sends to the landfill!

Reuse your old school supplies. Set up a reuse area where students and staff can place materials they no longer need that can be utilized in the fall by others.

Recycle during locker clean-out days. Make sure monitored and labeled recycling containers are placed in hallways next to the trash cans.


The end of the year can be the busiest time of year for teachers, students and administrators. It is also the busiest time of year for your trash cans. Each year when students clean out their lockers, paper and other materials that could have been recycled or reused get needlessly thrown away. Developing a system to deal with these materials involves students in a hands-on environmental project, practices resource conservation and could even save your school money.


I. Recycling During Locker Clean-Out Day

  1. Contact your local garbage hauler to see if you can receive extra recycling containers for that day or need to arrange for additional recycling collection.
  2. Provide outreach through signs or announcements so that students and staff are aware of the program and how to participate.
  3. Label containers clearly explaining what goes in and what stays out.
  4. Place containers next to trash cans and provide monitors to make sure students are not contaminating the recycling bins.
  5. REMEMBER...what does not belong in the paper recycling bins:
    1. paper with paint, a lot of crayon or any glitter
    2. tissue, crystal and some art paper
    3. plastic type or laminated paper
    4. paper toweling, napkins & tissues
    5. food contaminated paper
    6. ream wrappers

II. Set Up A Reuse Area

  1. Many materials students throw away at the end of the school year can be used again in the future. Examples include crayons, notebooks, markers, glue, scissors and many other school supplies.
  2. Find an area to set aside as a reuse area and encourage students to bring to this central location items that can be reused again next semester.
  3. Designate a "reuse closet" for these materials. In the fall staff and students will be able to obtain these school supplies free of charge.

III. Other Ideas

  1. If you have damaged or obsolete textbooks to get rid of, your hauler will take them! Just be sure to contact your hauler for directions on preparation and to arrange for pick-up.
  2. If your school hallways are divided by grade level, see which grade level can recycle the most material without contaminating the recycling bins. Think about providing incentives.
  3. Check to see if your garbage hauler can provide you with roller carts for your paper recycling. They can be easily wheeled in and out of your hallways, making it a lot easier for all involved.

For assistance with an end-of-the-school year waste reduction plan, contact Waste Reduction Education Coordinator Laurel Bates at 503-742-4454.

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