Reducing Waste in Schools
There are many ways to create less trash at school. Here are several ways to help:
Pack a "no-waste" lunch:
- Use a reusable lunch box or bag.
- Pack your sandwich and drink in reusable containers.
- Bring a cloth napkin and reusable flatware.
- Only bring what you will eat or share your extras with friends.
Reuse your school supplies:
- Use refillable pens and pencils.
- Buy durable and high-quality backpacks, lunchboxes and binders, and use them from year to year.
Use less paper:
- Buy paper and notebooks that contain recycled paper.
- Use both sides of the paper for scrap, printing, notes, etc.
- Use e-mail whenever possible.
- Read materials online instead of printing them out or purchasing newspapers and magazines.
What else can be done?
- Institute a school composting program - Galloway Township, NJ purchased several Earth Machine compost bins for each school and incorporated activities and lessons on composting into their curriculum. In addition, a schoolyard wildlife-friendly area was created.
- Institute a waste-free lunch program - www.wastefreelunches.org can help you get started.
- Identify educational opportunities - Students in the custodial curriculum at Passaic County Technical and Vocational High School received school credit for recycling efforts. They collected 39 tons of recyclables the first year, over 80 tons the second year, and over 100 tons the third year. The estimated savings to the school is approximately $35,000 per year.
- Plastic Bag Recycling Program - ENVIRO-BAG runs a plastic grocery bag recycling program with schools. Clean bags are collected by students, and schools are paid $1.00 per pound for the bags. For information, call 1-800-866-3954 or go to www.envirobag.com.
- Six Pack Ring Recycling Program - Students collect six pack rings and send them to ITW Hi-Cone Recycling, where they are recycled into new rings. For more information, call 1-800-965-7464 or go to www.ringleader.com.
- Laser Cartridge Recycling Program - Laser Save pays schools $1.00 for each empty laser printer, ink jet or fax toner cartridge from HP, Canon and most other major manufacturers. For information, call (732) 431-3339. This program has been initiated in the Gloucester County, NJ schools.
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