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This toolkit provides tools and guidance necessary for designing, implementing, or expanding a viable and comprehensive recycling program in New Jersey schools and is intended for grades K-12. It is presented generally in the chronological order that those responsible for implementing or upgrading a school recycling program would follow.

The headings below include information about the following:
Creating a team with key personnel
Conducting a waste audit
Joining Sustainable Jersey for Schools
Implementing an in-house recycling program for “mandated recyclable materials”
Incorporating a food waste reduction/recycling component
Enhancing the program to include “non-mandated recyclables”

Here is a link to a list of definitions for terms used throughout the Toolkit.

The toolkit is divided into eight phases.

It is suggested that the key individual responsible for leading the effort carefully go through this entire toolkit in order to become familiar with the contents and available resources.  A number of graphic, photo, and video examples have been provided as well.  There are also forms, links, publicity samples, and other resources that you are invited to use or tweak for your own school.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel! There is no single “best” approach to capturing recyclables from your school’s waste stream. The overarching goal, however, must be to make it easy for employees and students to recycle. The more sorting, decision-making, or inconvenience an individual must go through, the less successful the program will be. Recycling must easily blend in with other daily responsibilities and should not be viewed as a chore that is to be done only if time or convenience permit.

Besides being easy to participate in, successful school recycling programs share another common denominator: effective, upbeat “selling” of the program to everyone in the school. The best program in the world will fail unless the enthusiastic cooperation and support of those in the school is gained.

School recycling programs may take time to plan and implement, but they are worth it. Teaching children at a young age to recycle (correctly!) means the next generation of New Jerseyans will have a lifelong appreciation for recycling and conservation. Let’s get started!

Toolkit for a Successful School Recycling Program

Now that you are ready to start/improve/expand a recycling program, click on each task below for steps and resources to help guide you.  Return to this page regularly to check your progress and download resources.

The Association of New Jersey Recyclers (ANJR) greatly appreciates the permission granted by Recycle More Minnesota to incorporate some of the valuable ideas from their School recycling toolkit.