Recycling at SchoolEveryone knows that waste should be kept to a minimum with reusing and recycling being the buzz words on everyone’s lips, from politicians to parents.

With the UK producing more than 454 million tonnes of waste every year, recycling and reusing is in the forefront of everyone’s minds. Encouraging children to minimise waste from an early age will play a huge part in reducing the amount of rubbish the future generations produce. Most schools promote and foster recycling, however, if your child’s school is not actively and routinely providing a provision for reusing surplus or old products or disposing of rubbish responsibly, there are still many ways you and your children can get involved and make a difference, from buying eco friendly, recycled pens and pencils, to reusing food scraps and magazines.


It is estimated that it takes around 17 trees to make one tonne of paper, so start your child on the eco friendly path by loading their pencil case and school bag with recycled stationary. Pens made from old car parts, pencils from plastic containers and rulers from disposable cups are just some of the fun and funky school essentials available from on-line stores. Recycled notebooks and paper are easily available on the high street, and instead of buying expensive craft items for projects and card making, always keep a ‘bits and pieces’ box to throw old ribbons, buttons, sequins and trimmings in.

School Uniforms

Recycling school uniforms? How?! Quite easily really – no, we don’t mean unpicking last years’ sweater and knitting it up into next years’ winter scarf (though that in itself is a great environmentally friendly idea!) Instead, find out if your child’s school holds second hand uniform sales – and if it doesn’t, suggest organising one. Uniform sales benefit everyone – the environment, cash conscious parents, and the school funds – with a percentage of all sales going back into the fund-raising kitty!

When you do buy new, think ahead – instead of purchasing the cheapest ‘supermarket’ brand school clothes that will need replacing after just a few weeks, buy well made, good quality items that will still look good wash after wash and can ultimately be re-used and recycled by other children.

Lunches and Snacks

Reducing the amount of food packaging we use on a daily basis is a great way to help the environment and cut down on rubbish production. Choose lunch box nibbles and snacks that do not come in excessive packets and wrappings – and that includes reams and reams of foil and cling film around sandwiches! Invest in a sturdy lunch box and a range of smaller containers that fresh fruit, nuts and seeds can be safely transported in. Buy a leak proof drinks container and decant fresh juice (preferably from large recycled glass bottles) into it.

Top Tips for Recycling and Reusing Waste at School

There are lots of ways that children can be proactive in recycling the waste produced at school.

Don’t bin magazines and comics – organise a magazine swap each month, then ultimately either recycle or use for craft projects.

Don’t dump electrical items – have regular collections of old computer equipment and mobile phones to send to third world countries.

Compost waste from the school kitchen. Most raw food waste and peelings can be successfully composted, including uncooked fruit and vegetables, tea bags, eggshells, leaves and dead plants.

On-line Resources:

  • Recyclezone is a great recycling website for schools, children and Teachers.
  • Recycle-More is an informative site with tons of advice on recycling at home and school.