America Recycles Day: Tips from Eco-Schools USA

from Wildlife Promise

0 11/11/2010 // By Amanda Cooke // ,

www.eco-schoolsusa.org

November 15 has been designated America Recycles Day by Keep America Beautiful, a national volunteer-based community action and education organization.  On Monday, America Recycles Day will help inform people when, where and how to recycle in their community.

Reducing Waste at School

Students at one California Eco-School are reducing the amount of trash that the school community produces:

“The idea was to recycle our school’s cardboard lunch trays by placing them on a recycling table after depositing the trash into nearby garbage cans. The concept was to simply set up a collection point in the form of a school table in the most populated places of the lunch areas and surrounded them with trash cans for easier accessibility. The table is surrounded by trash cans to deposit the food. The paper lunch trays are piled on the tables.

“At the end of one school day, we were able to save around 640 lunch trays, the equivalent of  filling four large garbage bins. There are 180 school days in our school year, of which around seven don’t offer a lunch period. If a school were to implement this simple idea on the first day, this practice could save around 110,720  recyclable trays each school year. If the six million students in California’s 9,900 schools used this practice, it could save more than 6,336,000 lunch trays per day – around 1,096,128,000 per year.”

- Alicia, 8th grade student at Suzanne Middle School

Read more about what Alicia’s Eco-School is doing to go green here.

Recycling Tips from Eco-Schools USA

The average American creates a staggering 4.5 pounds of garbage per day. Almost everything we do creates waste, and as a society we produce more waste than ever before.

Most trash created by our schools is made up of food, paper and packaging waste. A school can reduce its environmental impact by analyzing the full life cycle of the products it uses. Lowering consumption in the first place is a critical step to begin making a difference.

One way to minimize waste in your school’s community is to create a culture of re-use.  Teachers can prolong the lives of envelopes by sticking new labels over previous addresses, or designate a supply closet to swap supplies instead of purchasing new ones.  If your school has an electronic newsletter, include “want lists” to ask parents and other community members to donate useful items they no longer need.

Reducing packaging and transport distance and recycling as many items as possible all translate into smaller amounts of garbage being hauled away.

Want additional tips for your school? Learn more on Eco-Schools USA’s Consumption and Waste Pathway page.