Recycling Guide for Schools

Cornell Cooperative Extension offers resources for both teachers and students to learn about recycling, composting, and waste reduction. CCE staff can interact with your school in a number of ways by conducting large assemblies, classroom lectures and presentations, table-top demonstrations at school events, and by offering resources and guidance on promoting waste reduction in your school.  

Benefits to Being a Green School:

*sourced from the NYS DEC webpage*

  • Prepare students to understand and act on the current and future environmental challenges that face all New Yorkers.
  • Model environmental and conservation best management practices in their building and in landscape design and maintenance can reduce costs.
  • Build partnerships with the local community to design and implement projects and programs that will result in a healthier environment and safer school.

Do you want to improve the recycling program at your school? 

We can help. Our Guide for Schools is a great place to start thinking about how your school can benefit from waste reduction. Print our easy to understand step-by-step guide to assessing and addressing your school's recycling program.   Visit some of the Helpful Links listed on this page. 




The New York State Association for Reduction, ReUse, and Recycling has a Green School Grant Program open for public and private schools grades K-12. Your school could become eligible for up to $500 in funds to help establish or support a recycling or composting program! Awards are given twice yearly. These grants are competitive, so ingenuity and initiative is key to conceptualizing your grant proposal. 



Terracycle is a revolutionary recycling company that has launched FREE recycling programs for conventionally un-recyclable products. These programs are sponsored by the brands that manufacturer the products that are conventionally not recyclable. All you have to do is sign up to join, start collecting the item in your school, download free shipping labels and send in the waste to be recycled. 

You could even raise money for your school through their recycling program.  

Here's a sample of some of their FREE recycling programs with Terracycle:

  • Binders
  • Drink pouches
  • Foil Chip Bags and Snack Packaging
  • Colgate toothpaste products
  • Brita Water Filter products
  • Cigarette butts
  • Guitar Strings


Helpful Links & Resources for Teachers 

Cornell WM Institute // Composting in Schools

US Composting Council // Teachers & Students 

Cornell WM Institute // Compost in the Classroom Curriculum

Cornell WM Institute // Trash Goes To School

 NYS DEC // Green Schools

NYS DEC // Resource Book for Schools

NYS DEC // Resource Book for Colleges

NYS DEC // Recycling Facts Brochure 

USDA // Food Waste Challenge 

Smarter Lunchrooms Movement // Measuring Cafeteria Tray Waste 


Angelina Peone
Recycling and Composting Educator
(518) 372-1622

Last updated July 27, 2017