1. Work with your local recycling authority:
- Arrange for recycling bins and collection at your school.
- Acquire information about items and materials that can be recycled in standard collections, special local collections and drop-off recycling sites in your area. (Visit www.earth911.com for details.)
- Obtain posters, leaflets and possible speakers or activities.
2. Evaluate and minimize paper usage and waste.
- Place trays for reusable paper in each classroom, office, copier room and anywhere else paper is used.
- Make double-sided printing and photocopying routine. (Set printers to do this automatically.)
- Encourage staff to save documents electronically rather than printing them.
- Offer parents the option to receive newsletters by email, and post information on your school's website.
3. Communicate waste and recycling initiatives regularly to staff, students and parents.
- Ensure that recycling bins are obvious and appealing.
- Use colorful stickers and posters to clarify what does and does not go in the recycling bins.
- Announce recycling initiatives in school assemblies, staff meetings, newsletters and on the website.
- Hold class competitions or recycling days to keep waste reduction prominent and fun.
- Use bulletin boards and displays around the school to show progress.
4. Set up a composting system for organic waste.
- Find out if reduced-cost or free composting bins are available through your recycling authority or local environmental groups.
- Consider vermicomposting for cafeteria waste.
- Incorporate composting activities into science lessons or after-school clubs.
5. Investigate whether you can make money by recycling steel and aluminum cans.
6. Recycle used electronics and e-waste.
- Many companies will collect old printer cartridges and mobile phones and give you money in return or donate funds to charity.
- Donate unneeded computers and other electronic equipment to re-use organizations.
7. Obtain supplies made from recycled or reused materials.
- Look for printer paper, notebooks, pencils, binders and other products with a high percentage of recycled, post-consumer waste content.
- Look for backpacks, totes, and other products made from recycled plastic bottles.
- Contact local businesses and organizations to "rescue" supplies that might otherwise go to the landfill.
8. Avoid disposable food service items whenever possible.
- Provide mugs and glasses in the staff room instead of disposable cups.
- Encourage students to bring lunchboxes and reusable drink bottles instead of throw-away bags and containers.
- Strive for "zero-waste" special events by using washable dishes or compostable dishware.
9. Repurpose clothing, furniture, and other durable items.
- Set up a "swap shop" to help parents exchange second-hand clothing and uniforms.
- Reupholster or refinish furniture to prolong its life, and donate unneeded furnishings to local charities.
- Hold a garage sale to raise funds for your Eco-Schools program.
10. Create a culture of re-use.
- Prolong the lives of envelopes by sticking new labels over previous addresses.
- Designate a supply closet where teachers can swap supplies and other items instead of purchasing new ones.
- Include "want lists" in school newsletters to ask parents and other community members to donate useful items they no longer need