The world is currently facing a variety of environmental challenges, including reduced landfill space and natural resource shortages. Recycling programs help to address both of these problems, and they require relatively little labor or capitol to establish.

In fact, you can even help establish a recycling program at your child's school if they do not already have one in place. Schools produce a significant amount of recyclable waste, so such programs not only help to foster a sense of environmental stewardship and community responsibility among the students and teachers; they also contribute to the solution in a meaningful manner.

Each situation is different, but you can probably get your school's recycling program off the ground by embracing the following steps.

Secure a Sponsor

You will need an ally from the faculty to help expedite the establishment of the program. Ask a few members of the school's staff and teachers who may be enthusiastic about recycling if they are interested in supporting the cause. If that fails to generate a lead or two, place a flyer outlining your intention to start a recycling program in the teacher's lounge. Include your contact information at the bottom, and hopefully someone will contact you saying they're interested.  

Establish the Scope

An incredibly wide variety of materials can be recycled, so you must decide which materials the school will collect – they can't recycle everything. Paper is an obvious material for a school to collect, and plastic bottles (such as those built to contain drinking water or soda) are another excellent choice for schools.

To maximize the program's contribution to the community and the greater recycling effort, consider including one or two less common items in your recycling program. For example, things like printer cartridges are frequently used by schools, businesses and individuals, yet they are not recycled as often as paper, plastic and aluminum are.  

Gather Volunteers

While everyone in the school can help fill the bins, you will need student volunteers to collect the bins and bring them to a central collection area. You can probably have the office staff make announcements for you over the intercom system, or you could place colorful posters around the school to drum up interest in the project.

Don't forget that you will need adult sponsors to help oversee the students and to transport the collected materials to the recycling center.

Make Your Own Recycling Bins

Instead of wasting precious school resources (or investing your own money), have the students make recycling bins by covering donated cardboard boxes with plastic film. If clear plastic is used, you can let the students decorate the boxes beforehand with poster paints, stickers and glitter.

Create a Delivery Schedule

You will need to establish a collection schedule that suits your school. In populous schools, collection may be required every day or every other day; schools with relatively few pupils may be able to collect recyclable materials once or twice a week. If you must schedule infrequent collections, limit the program to paper to maintain a clean, hygienic classroom environment – don't collect plastic or glass bottles which may have food residues.

Talk to a company like Parks & Sons of Sun City, Inc. for more information on getting a recycling program started.