Free Guide: Playbook for Building a School Recycling Team
Get everyone involved.
The simple and effective methods in this playbook will help you build a school recycling team to help make your Recycle Rally a success!
Share your vision with parents, administrators, faculty, and operational staff. Determine whose needs might be met by getting involved:
- Club managers or after-school programs that track community service hours or emphasize environmental stewardship might be a great fit!
- Those with a more “lively” classroom may want to give their students something active to do.
- Art, math, environmental science, and English teachers might want to use lessons and activity ideas in class.
- Custodial staff may enjoy seeing the impact of their efforts by earning rewards.
Enlist a sponsor! Reach out to influential figures (coaches, principals, counselors) to help engage others in the program. Support from an influential administrator can help get others on board.
TIP: Capture the attention of other passionate, green-minded leaders in your school! Download our Get the Word Out Guide for tips.
Recruiting Community Supporters
- Check with your local and state recycling organizations to see if they can assist.
- See if local youth organizations want to join in the efforts.
- Determine whether your PTO/PTA is trying to raise funds for a specific project. Then see if Recycle Rally rewards or contest prizes might be able to help.
- Announce your needs with an outdoor sign, banner, or marquee.
Being part of the team is a fun privilege! It’s a break from class, social time to make new friends, and an opportunity to get outdoors! Reference the Green Team Guide for details about how to recruit a team of students.
- Talk it up in classrooms, school assemblies, sporting events, morning announcements, etc.
- Host an initial, informal meeting for those who are interested.
- Offer special privileges, such as the opportunity to speak on morning announcements, visit other classrooms, appear on a special page in the yearbook, or wear team t-shirts on a designated day.
- Recruit cheerleaders, dancers, actors, or musicians to perform an original act that helps call attention to recycling.
- If possible, allow students to earn credit toward community service hours.
- Engage students with events! Think field trips, cleanup events, and recycling drives.
School Recycling Team Roles
To inspire ownership of a student club or group, give each member a specific role. School recycling team roles might include:
- President: Runs team meetings and is likely an older, more experienced participant
- Vice President: Helps support the president in running meetings and promotes unity amongst the team
- Secretary: Takes notes and attendance during Green Team meetings and keeps track of upcoming team outings and events
- Treasurer: Keeps track of all funds or rewards points, inventories, supplies, and progress toward related goals
- Promoters/Advocates: Take the lead in getting the message out to the rest of the school and/or community
- Artist/Designer: Creates posters to hang around the school
- Writer: Writes articles about what the team is doing for the school newspaper or newsletter
- Technology Guru: Runs the team’s social media accounts
- Photographer: Captures photos of the team’s events
Getting to Know Your Team
Try one of these recycling icebreakers!
- The “Get-to-Know-You” bottle toss is an easy way to discover why students are interested in joining the team and to engage them in talking to one another.
- Coordinate a recycling team challenge like a bin toss game.
- Enjoy a fun-fact guessing game. Hand out a piece of paper to each student and have them write three fun facts about themselves on the paper. Crumple it up, toss it in a bin, and have the students each grab one to read to guess who wrote it.
Real Talk From Real Schools
“The cafeteria staff helps with the daily collection, so that I don’t have to be involved daily on a personal level. I then come in a couple of times a week to pack up/weigh the materials.”
Episcopal Day School
“Partners, partners, partners! Everyone has more fun with a friend! Teamwork is key to project success.”
Mater Academy Charter Middle & High School
“Involve students. They are at school, surrounded by their peers all day long. They are the voice. We offered students community service hours to help us sort and collect. In turn, they realized that it would have been easier had the bottles been in the right bins all along.”
William Ellis Middle
“We have partnered with our special needs self-contained classrooms to have them be our recycling heroes. They not only promote recycling by going over the details of our program with the Science classes, but also they collect the recycling, weigh the recycling, and keep an account of how much we are keeping out of the landfill.”
Lake Shore High School
“Our special education students run the recycling program with pride and many of our special needs students are part of our ‘ECO club’ at school. They wear their Pepsi Challenge shirts with pride every Friday when we recycle.”
Indian Creek Middle School
“We think the Recycle Rally is great. It gives our special needs kids an opportunity to go out and work. It counts as their work study.”
McGarity Elementary School
“I have 2 days a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) when the recycling is gathered to leave the building. A fellow teacher on each hallway is responsible for gathering the bags in their halls and getting them to my hallway. I log the recyclables in writing at that time, then put them in to the computer once or twice a month.”
“I have a recycling club that meets at lunch. It’s a nice informal time to meet with students as they share their ideas and then we work.”
Mitchell High School
“We recycle as part of our Employability class. We practice job skills such as following directions, cooperation, and staying on task while we recycle.”