Government of New Brunswick
Ready, Set, Recycle

Does your school recycle? Do you know that much of your school's waste can be recycled? All you need to do is create a plan, put the proper tools in place and take action! This fact sheet will explain steps that you can take to support the recycling process and help you become recycling pros!


The first step is to evaluate how much recyclable material is going into the garbage. You see, when recyclables are thrown out they end up in a landfill, but by recycling, a lot of waste can be made into new products!

Consider doing a waste check. This will help you understand the kind of waste in your school and how it's managed. You shouldn't do this alone, so ask for help. Even just a few dedicated people can make a big difference!

Here are some steps you can take to do a classroom waste check:

  • Each class should take responsibility for its waste.
  • Have your teacher draw a chart to list all the items found in the waste basket.
  • Count how many of each item is in the waste basket; add this information to your chart. In the end, you will have a detailed list of discarded items. Do this several times and compare information between classrooms.
  • Now you have a good idea of the waste generated in your school. Can any of it be recycled or composted? Better yet, how could you cut down on the waste?
  • Review the data and make recommendations for a waste reduction plan within your class and your school.
  • Consider having a zero tolerance rule for paper in the waste basket or placing recycle bins closer to waste bins.
  • Present the ideas to your principal for approval to proceed.
  • Make contact with your local solid waste commission to inform them of your efforts, and to ask about recycling guidelines and collection services.
  • Take action! Create a group and assign volunteers to tackle different tasks

Ready, Set, Recycle

  • Start easy, paper recycling is a logical first step.
  • Provide each classroom with its own paper recycling box.
  • Set up a separate bin for scrap paper. It can then be used for rough work such as working out math problems or draft copies of reports.
  • Next, beverage containers can be recycled.

By collecting and returning your containers to a redemption centre, a portion of the original deposit is returned in cash! This money could be used to buy new recycle bins for the school or additional library resources!

  • Finally, check out the composting fact sheet to learn about setting up a compost bin; What can be composted and how does it work?

In the end, a recycling program will only benefit your school. Recyclables will be diverted from the waste stream, potentially reducing the size of waste collection dumpsters or the number of pickups at your school, and saving your school money. Make sure to continue to update everyone of the progress of recycling by doing set evaluations throughout the year. This will encourage everyone to continue their effort and recognize the progress that has been made.

Remember to recycle this fact sheet by passing it on to another class for use!

Take Action! Start simple, work safely, and make your commitment strong.