Recycling in School

Please use this page as a guide to support your recycling in school work. On this page you will find six carefully chosen tips to support your school to set up or further develop a recycling and waste management scheme that will be successful and sustainable.

Have a look at our top tips for successful recycling and waste management in school!

A waste audit is the most important first step in setting up a waste management plan for your school.

Try to break your assessment down into more manageable sections, including:

  • The quantity of waste that is being created
  • The types of waste being produced in school? and then look at whether some of these waste items-
  • Could be prevented or reduced?
  • Which items could be recycled?
  • Which items could be composted?
  • Which items should be disposed of in the rubbish bins?
  • Which items need to be disposed of more carefully and are potentially hazardous?
  • Which items have been effected by recent regulations and can no longer be legally disposed of in the general waste stream?

Waste audit lesson plans and information from Recycle Now Schools

Discuss recycling and waste collections with our Area Waste Managers who would be happy to answer your questions and to arrange a quote for collections from your school

Please contact us on 0345 600 6400 and ask to be put through to your Area Waste Management Officer listed below

Or contact your Area Officer by e-mail

  • West Area:
  • North Area:
  • South East Area:

You might be interested to know that materials collected for recycling go to be sorted at the West Sleekburn Materials Recycling Facility in Northumberland and rubbish goes to an Energy from Waste Facility at Teesside to be burnt to produce electricity.

Classroom and office recycling containers

Any Northumberland schools with a Northumberland County Council or SITA UK Ltd recycling collection can recycle the materials listed below and shown in the printable poster. These are NCC and SITA UK Ltd target materials for recycling in Northumberland-

  • All plastic bottles- please rinse and remove lids.
  • Newspapers, junk mail, magazines, catalogues, envelopes, writing and drawing paper.
  • Card and cardboard- please flatten and tear larger cardboard into smaller sections to save space and to avoid materials getting jammed in your recycling bins.
  • Clean food and drinks cans.
  • Empty aerosol cans.
  • Biscuit and sweet tins- plenty to be found in school staff rooms.

What can we recycle in school poster?

  • Why not print these A3 posters Poster 1 and Poster 2 to laminate for use around school and to stick on the outside recycling bins.
  • Please avoid putting paper towels, tissues and shredded paper into your recycling bins. The reason for this is that paper must be clean and many paper companies do not like these materials due to the poor quality i.e. paper towels are already at the end of the recycling line and the paper fibres have been broken in shredded paper, reducing the overall quality.
  • Please avoid putting plastic wrappings, food waste, crisp packets and plastic tubs into your recycling bins.

Why can’t we recycle certain materials?

The target materials for recycling in the poster above have been chosen for a number of reasons -

  • We only collect the things which CAN actually be recycled by the reprocessors.
  • We maintain a high quality product with minimum contamination.
  • The materials that we collect are easy to rinse by any school or householder.

The Recycling Points Challenge is open to all Northumberland schools and colleges. There are many activities to choose from in the challenge, some very easy and some that are more tricky. Schools can choose whichever activities they wish to do, doing as many or as few as they like and gaining points as they go along.

  • Activity categories include recycling in school, reducing and reusing waste, communicating messages, Litter and Love Northumberland.
  • Activities include doing posters and pledges, learning a recipe to reduce food waste, running a waste free packed lunch and recycling a new material.

Find out more about the challenge and how to take part here

Your recycling bins - Items in your recycling bins are taken to a Materials Recycling Facility at West Sleekburn, Northumberland for sorting before being sent further afield to be made into new products. Find out more here.

Your rubbish bins - Rubbish is taken to an Energy from Waste Plant to be burnt to produce electricity. Find out more here.

Classroom and office recycling containers

Please e-mail to find out if your school is eligible for free classroom and office recycling containers.

Outdoor play equipment and seating

Consider more sustainable options for playground surfaces and seating- e.g. surfaces made from recycled tyres and picnic benches from plastic milk bottles. Please check with the individual companies to find out what types of recycled or eco-friendly products they provide.

More help for your school

Recycling bins and labelling

  • Have a recycling point in every room - don’t forget non-teaching areas like the office, staff room and kitchen.
  • Label recycling points and waste bins clearly inside the school and also at outside collection points - this will help avoid the wrong things being put in the wrong bins.
  • Provide a rubbish bin next to every recycling bin - this makes it as easy to recycle as it is to throw something away. Rubbish bins should be a different colour and perhaps even a different size and shape to the recycling bins, making it very easy to put materials into the correct bins.

Involve the whole-school

  • Keep people informed - make sure everyone knows what can be recycled at school and why it is important to recycle.
  • Set up a rota - Set up a rota for emptying the recycling points
  • Motivate teachers to lead by example - recycle as much as possible and encourage pupils to get involved.
  • Involve cleaning and support staff - ensure cleaning and support staff are informed of changes which affect them and let them know how important their role is.
  • Spread your success - tell other people about successes, especially parents and the local press and praise all the teams involved.
  • Have regular recycling reports - report at assemblies and display amounts of recycling collected on a notice board to keep everyone informed and motivated.

Monitor your success

  • Monitor your recycling scheme - watch out for any decline in recycling levels. For example, you could keep a record of how full your external recycling bin is each week.
  • Keep a record of any problems with recycling e.g. contamination in recycling bins, items spotted in the general waste bins that could have been recycled

Reusing furniture and equipment from school offices and classrooms

  • Need furniture or other items for school? OR need to dispose of furniture or other working items? The Waste Resources Action Programme allows you to do this.

Please click here for more details

Advice on collecting other materials in school

  • If you wish to recycle other materials such as mobile phones, stamps, batteries and textiles in school for a charity or collection company, it is advised that these items should be collected in distinctly different collection containers to the normal school recycling bins and with clear labelling or posters to highlight these collection points. This will help to avoid confusion over what you are recycling in your normal school recycling bins and the additional materials you are collecting. Many charities and collection companies provide a container or bags for their collection service.
  • Please see our school recycling directory for ideas