Most of the waste produced at schools can be recycled or composted. The following resources can help you start or improve a recycling program at your school.
Our sorting video is intended to help students learn how to sort and properly recycling their lunch waste.
The video gives a brief overview of why recycling and organics recycling is important, then instructs students how to sort their waste into recycling, organics recycling, and trash. The video is intended to be generic enough to be used by schools throughout Hennepin County.
Benefits of recycling programs
Implementing recycling and organics collection in schools provides environmental, educational and financial benefits:
- Environmental: By recycling, new products are made from materials being thrown away. Diverting organic waste means that leftover food is donated to help people in need, fed to animals or recycled into compost.
- Educational: Recycling and organics recycling presents hands-on environmental education opportunities that provide a forum for teaching many scientific topics, such as decomposition, pollution, habitat loss, microbiology, chemistry, soil ecology, manufacturing and engineering.
- Financial: Schools can reduce disposal costs and taxes associated with solid waste disposal.
Setting up a recycling program
The recycling guide for Minnesota schools (PDF), published by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, is a great resource for setting up a school recycling program.
School waste study
A school waste sort study, conducted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Hennepin County and City of Minneapolis, gives some key insights into waste generation at schools, including that nearly 80 percent of school waste could be recycled.
Waste sort guide
Interested in learning more about the amount and type of waste produced at your schools by conducting a waste audit or waste sort?
Check out our how-to guide for conducting a waste sort (PDF) for step-by-step instructions for conducting a waste sort, including how to organize and set up the sort, what equipment you will need, and how to collect data with sample data sheets.
School reuse and cleanout day guide
Rethink Recycling has a school reuse and cleanout day guide (PDF) to help prevent waste and maximize the reuse and recycling of materials during cleanout at the end of the school year.