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At School

Schools can reduce and better manage their waste by working with businesses and local governments. Students, faculty, and staff can work together for a better environment.

For Students

Waste Reduction and Recycling

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Quick Tips:

  • Before starting a new school year, sort through the school supplies on-hand. Many supplies, like notebooks or pens and pencils, can be reused or recycled. You can share your used books and other school supplies with friends, relatives, or younger schoolchildren.
  • For school dances or other events, decorations and other supplies can be borrowed or rented. If you buy these supplies, try adopting a theme that can be used from year-to-year, so that you can reuse them.
  • Many schools reuse text books to save money and reduce waste. Covering your textbooks with cut-up grocery or shopping bags helps reduce waste and keeps your books in good condition.
  • If you buy lunch, take and use only what you need: one napkin, one ketchup packet, one salt packet, one pepper packet, one set of flatware. Remember to recycle your cans and bottles, and separate your waste if your school has separation bins.
  • To reduce packaging waste, use school supplies wrapped with minimal packaging, use compact or concentrated products, or buy products in bulk.

Community Service and Volunteering

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Quick Tips:

  • Volunteer for, or start, an environmental club or recycling project in your school. Work with your teachers and friends to find ways to encourage everyone in your community to make waste reduction a part of their everyday lives, such as starting a school composting project or ask for a day in art class where you can use things that would have normally been thrown away.
  • Tell your teachers you want to have a time dedicated to learning more about what you and your fellow classmates can do for the environment.
  • If you are a college student, you can participate in the OnCampus ecoAmbassadors Program to help green your campus and promote environmental awareness.

For Faculty and Staff

Waste Reduction and Recycling

Tip Icon: Green leaf

Quick Tips:

  • Before starting a new school year, sort through your materials. Many supplies can be reused or recycled. Notebooks, folders, and binders can be reused.
  • To reduce packaging waste, use school supplies wrapped with minimal packaging, use compact or concentrated products, or buy products in bulk.
  • Borrow or rent your decorations and supplies for parties and events. If you buy these supplies, try adopting a theme that can be used from year-to-year, so that you can reuse your decorations and supplies.

Setting up Programs

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Quick Tips:

  • Form a team with committees to take charge of specific tasks.
  • Set an agenda or goals for the program, and engage parents and volunteers in the process.
  • Secure materials, donations, and other resources from your community.

Chemical Management

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Quick Tips:

  • Take note of – but do not touch – chemicals in classrooms, janitorial closets and facility management sheds that do not have proper labels, are old and dusty or look unsafe (for example, have crystals growing around cap). Immediately report the location and description of the chemicals to the principal and the science department chair.
  • Promote responsible chemical management so that students and staff are protected from chemical accidents or exposures.
  • Incorporate green chemistry and sustainability lesson plans in the chemistry curriculum.
  • Contact your local household hazardous waste collection facility for instructions on safely disposing of harmful waste products and materials, such as empty aerosol paint cans, leftover paint and thinners, used solvents and paint chips, unused garden products like fertilizers and pesticides, and household chemicals.
  • Properly store unused paint for future use, donate to neighbors or charities, or turn in to a waste collection facility for recycling.


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