Key Role: Educate students about the environment. In addition, exude enthusiasm for the program (be a recycling cheerleader). It’s critical to give students positive feedback about their recycling efforts.


  • If the school does not have an environmental club, form one. Give the club members a special title (such as the “Green Team”), and invite students to actively plan and support the recycling program.
  • Organize the environmental club into a team of student monitors. The club can check paper collected in the classrooms and monitor recycling in the cafeterias. If necessary, the club can organize a rotating schedule of classrooms to assist with program monitoring.
  • Use available recycling projects and curricula to educate students about the environment. Be sure to emphasize that a daily recycling effort by students can add up to a significant savings in landfill space in just one school year.
  • In elementary schools, involve students in promoting the recycling program by making posters for the classroom, hallways or cafeteria. Challenge other classes to a paper collection contest.
  • Keep parents informed about the school’s program via school newsletters, cafeteria menu, letters sent home with students, or posting on the school district’s website.
  • If teachers have cafeteria duty, they could monitor students and recycling containers to prevent potential contamination.
  • Use recycling as a fun, educational opportunity (e.g., as a math activity, record weight of the collected materials) and incorporate into math, science and other curricula.  See the Resources section below.
  • Refer to the NJ Clean Communities Best Practices Manual for lists of books, assembly programs and curricula.


  • Form a student environmental club or support the efforts of an existing club by encouraging students to join.
  • Involve your students in monitoring the recycling program.
  • Have your students make posters, visit younger students to discuss recycling, or promote the new program in other ways.
  • Watch this this video about DeMasi Middle School students assisting the elementary school students. DeMasi Middle School is located in Marlton, NJ.  This video is part of a video playlist created for schools by ANJR.
  • Educate students about the environment, especially during week of program start-up.
  • Monitor students’ participation and quality of recyclables in the classroom and cafeteria.