Phase One: Gain Support

A successful recycling program at your school needs support from all of the key decision-makers. At a school, the decision-makers often include the school board, superintendent, principal, teachers, and buildings and grounds managers. To gain their support, schedule a meeting to share Sustainable Jersey Images 1the following:

  1. The benefits of a recycling program, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Visit the links below:

      2. The fact that recycling is mandatory in New Jersey and has been since 1987. Click the toggle below for more specific details about mandatory recycling in New Jersey.

Decision-makers should understand that source separation and recycling have been required by law for over thirty years by the Solid Waste Management Act and the Statewide Mandatory Source Separation and Recycling Act, codified in the New Jersey Statutes Annotated at NJSA 13:1E, especially 13:1E-99.  13:1E-99.11 states the goal of source separating, and clarifies that everyone in the State of New Jersey is included:

“The Legislature therefore declares that it is in the public interest to mandate the source separation of marketable waste materials on a Statewide basis so that reusable materials may be returned to the economic mainstream in the form of raw materials or products, rather than be disposed of at the State’s overburdened landfills, and further declares that the recycling of marketable materials by every municipality in this State, and the development of public and private sector recycling activities on an orderly and incremental basis, will further demonstrate the State’s long-term commitment to an effective and coherent solid waste management strategy.”

All schools, (public, private, and independent) are required to separate and recycle the materials that their counties have designated for businesses and/or institutions. Although each county has devised a unique plan, all have designated cardboard, other paper, bottles, and cans as mandatory recyclables. Click here for the table of designated mandatory recyclables in all 21 NJ counties.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has promulgated regulations at NJAC 7:26A-10 and 11 to clarify the requirements for both generators (people who use materials that then must be recycled) and municipalities.  Click here to see the regulations.

Each municipality is required to appoint a recycling coordinator to educate the public, report recycling tonnage, and assure that every generator (e.g., a school district or a school) can obtain recycling services. Each municipality also must appoint staff to enforce the municipal recycling ordinances. While many municipalities don’t rigorously enforce against their own schools, this does not exempt schools from having to recycle. Schools may be inspected by county agents as well, and issued warnings and penalties if they fail to source separate designated recyclables.

        3. Examples of what other schools have done:

Video: Getting Started at Pope John XXIII High School

Video: Importance of Top Support at Pope John XXIII High School

Video: Getting Started in Frankford: School and Municipality Work Together

         4. Your enthusiasm for the project.


         5. Use a pledge to ask team members to commit to the effort.  Here is a sample Go Green Pledge from Union County.

Also, be prepared to offer suggestions for potential Recycling Team members.  Prior to the presentation, make up your “wish list” of individuals from your school’s procurement, buildings and grounds, food services, and other internal groups who might provide enthusiasm and support for the program. While all of your suggestions may not be accepted, it’s better to come prepared with some names rather than try to think of potential committee members on the spur of the moment.