The Surfrider Foundation: Protecting Oceans, Waves and Beaches since 1984

Sign Up For Our bi-weekly SOUP Newsletter!

Tips to Start a School Recycling Program

Do you cringe whenever a classmate throws out a recyclable bottle, can, or paper? Help put a stop to this by starting a recycling program at your school. Here are the deets on how.

1. Get Dirty

Figure out how much your school wastes every day by collecting cans and bottles from students after lunch. This will provide tangible support when you’re approaching people with your idea.

2. Get Your Team Together

Get a team of students and teachers to help you with the program. Sell your idea to them by providing a list of stats and facts on recycling, along with the school facts you found. Check out Rise Above Plastics site for handouts and FAQs

3. Investigate

Once your principle approves the idea, start investigating! Search phone books for a company that can handle the recycling. Some towns even provide recycling bins and will collect recyclables on certain days. If your town doesn’t do this, then set up a fundraiser to buy recycling bins for every floor/area of your school.
Bin it

Once you are able to get recycling bins, get them in different colors or shapes, and separate them by paper, plastic, aluminum and trash. If you can’t do this, make labels that stand out.

Post eye-catching signs around school to spread the word about your new recycling program. Make sure to include why it is so important to recycle and what can go in each bin.

Get others involved by starting an Surfrider Quad Club in your school. This is a great way to discuss environmental issues across the globe and how you guys can help.


    Hold a kick-off event at your school to spread awareness. Have games, food and recycling facts!
    Convince your school to use the proceedings from recycling cans and bottles to buy recycling containers or fund field trips. (Hard work pays off.)