The school classroom is an ideal place to put recycling practices into a day-to-day curriculum that covers topics that include ecology, biology, economics, chemistry, mathematics, social studies and more. Students will not only learn the benefits of recycling and sustainable living practices, but will make a practical contribution to the reduction of waste that the school is paying to have removed. Additionally, students will tend to take these practices home and share them with family members, adding to the benefits the classroom learning experience.
Within the Classroom
There are many programs that can be instituted in the classroom. Starting at the primary grades, paper recycling is the most common and easiest way to instill the basic recycling practice. Your school waste hauler should offer separate bins to collect both white bond paper and other types of paper.(It's a good idea to advise the janitorial staff that these bins are for recycling) Classrooms can compete to see which one recycles the most paper per student.
Another program that will capture the attention of most primary school children is vermicomposting. It is easy to set up a worm bin in the classroom where shredded paper and food scraps can be deposited into a container where red worms turn the waste into compost. These programs can be set up through the Butte Environmental Council's RARE program. Rubbish and Recycling Education (R.A.R.E.)
Ever wonder what is happening inside a compost pile? Or what you throw away now that will be around when your grandchildren have grandchildren? RARE can show you in a fun, hands-on and interactive display designed for students between kindergarten and sixth grade. The exhibit clearly illustrates the dynamics of trash, recycling and composting in free, two-hour tours that run from August to May.
After the tour, a RARE staff member can come to your classroom to teach your students even more! Students will be taught the importance of composting and then have the opportunity to build a composting worm bin of their own. This will give students the chance to put what they have seen and learned into practice - a lesson they will surely not forget!
Outside the Classroom and School Wide
There are many more ways to recycle outside the classroom. The primary focus on school wide recycling should start at the cafeteria. The cafeteria/lunch room can be responsible for over 70% of your schools waste production. Cardboard recycling is the easiest and most beneficial way to reduce kitchen waste. Utilizing a cardboard recycling bin can cut disposal costs by a third. After cardboard, the usual items such as metal cans, plastic bottles and cartons, and paper products can be recycled in a standard comingled recycling bin.
If beverage containers are sold at your school, bottle and can recycling is a great way to not only reduce waste but make money for school activities. Beverage container receptacles should be placed where the students purchase and consume the drinks. (Snack bars, gyms, stadiums)
Roscoe the Recycling Raccoon©
Let Roscoe show you what is happening at the Neal Road Recycling & Waste Facility.
Download Roscoe's story on Recycling.
Would you like to bring your classroom to Neal Road Recycling Facility? Facility staff are available to conduct tours and present a general overview of what goes on at a recycling facility, where peoples trash end up, and what we can do to recycle more.
For information on facility tours, call 879-2352.