Recycling ideas for schools

Your school, college or academy can do its bit to reduce waste and increase the amount of waste that we recycle in the UK.

Britain only recycles less than half of its rubbish, and we’re in danger of missing the 50% target we set ourselves for the year 2020.

That’s where schools and colleges come in, because that’s where the recyclers of the future are.

Great recycling and re-use ideas from schools can be taken home and help drive down the mountains of waste that we produce each year.

We produce about a quarter of a tonne of rubbish per person every year in the UK, so that means we all have to think how we can produce less waste and make sure that what we throw away is recycled as much as possible.

Thinking about your quarter of a tonne:

How much do you think is wasted food? How would you deal with it?

How much is paper, or plastics, or tins and bottles?

In the classroom, you can start with some simple projects.

How about getting a special bin for your paper waste?

Do you bring in a disposable plastic drink bottle every day? Make sure that goes into a recycling bin, or invest in a re-usable bottle that can be used for months on end. There’s every chance your drink bottle is made from recycled plastics – why not think about its journey? What do you think it was before it was your bottle?

It’s not just about recycling your waste

Now that you’re sorting your rubbish into special bins to make sure that it gets recycled, spread the idea across your school so that everybody’s on board.

Your teachers and principal might be able to help by arranging the right wheeled bins for your school so that the right rubbish is taken to the right place. Most waste companies supply bins free-of-charge, and the less general rubbish (rubbish that can’t be recycled) that your school produces means that they pay less tax on it.

How about setting up a sustainable garden? See if you can start a year-round project in a quiet part of the school. Set up a garden that can grow food, or a wildlife garden that attracts insects and small animals. These projects can be handed down the years and get everybody involved.

Take these ideas home with you

If you like the idea of recycling and re-using in the classroom, take it all home with you and be the person in charge of recycling at home. In fact, your parents would be delighted if you took charge!

Get your family thinking about putting waste in the right bin.

Get your parents thinking about sensible shopping choices so you use less packaging and waste less food.

Save energy around the home by turning down thermostats and switching off lights when they’re not needed.

By thinking and working as a class, you can spread great energy-saving and recycling ideas across the community, so everybody benefits.