Waste Week: How to Help Your School to Recycle Better

As Waste Week will be taking place 7th – 11th March we wanted to offer some tips on what your establishment can do to help the environment!  Schools can accumulate a lot of waste and much of it is actually recyclable. The issue mainly falls with paper and food wastage so we want to help you reduce those large amounts and encourage fellow educators and pupils to do more.

Please bear in mind that some recyclers in local areas will only take certain materials, keep your eye out for any reuse and recycling programmes in your area!


The main areas of waste reduction include:



Recycling collection


Buying recycled content products


Simply beginning with different coloured and clearly labelled recycling bins in comparison to standard rubbish bins can make things much easier for students and teachers alike to quickly know where to place their used items. Before organising a new waste management system, try to engage with the administrators, the facilities teams and even fire safety individuals before making changes.


Reduce Waste: The Classroom

Minimise handouts

Copy and print on both sides of paper

Spell check on screen instead of on printouts

Post assignments and documents online

Buy supplies in bulk for discounts

Keep a scrap paper box

Reuse or donate everything

Create a school supply exchange between classes

Collect back any unused items at the end of terms

Recycle toner and ink cartridges via the manufacturers

Recycle old phones and computers


Reduce Waste: Administrative Offices

Donate used furniture and equipment

Have “spring clean” days and donate and recycle unwanted material

Buy long-lasting folders, binders and office supplies and reuse

Reuse incoming packaging for outgoing shipments

Purchase supplies in bulk for discounts

Use email attachments instead of fax

Send electronic memos instead of printing


Reduce Waste: The Cafeteria

Compost food scraps using local composting programmes

Donate unused edible food to shelters

Donate unused food to local farms for animal feed

Use bulk condiment dispensers

Recycle all cans and packaging from the kitchen

Buy food in bulk for better deals

Plan menus based on historical performance of certain foods

Encourage staff and pupils to bring lunches from home in reusable containers


Reduce Waste: The Washroom

Switch from toilet rolls to dispensers with sheet by sheet dispensing

Use soap dispensing systems with controlled measured portions rather than bottles of hand wash or soap

Always dispense hand towels in the appropriate size and don’t leave them loose out of a dispenser

Use hand towel dispensers with single sheet dispensing to minimise waste


Challenges will always arise when trying to get people involved in a recycling programme but if your messages are right and they are spread around the grounds then people will begin to pick it up and see the benefits. Let everyone know which materials go where and before you know it, you won’t be discarding anything that can be recycled!

Happy recycling!


If you have put in place a recycling scheme or are looking at doing so, let us know in the comments below.