Buying Wisely to Reduce Waste. 14. Identifying Recycled-content Products. 16. Writing Specifications. 18. Garbage and Recycling Services Specifications.
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Acknowledgement Researched and written by: Linda Countryman; Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance Roger Worner; Roger Worner Associates. 2007 revisions, Jeanne Giernet ; Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Contributors: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Learning Resource Center (FKA Minnesota O˜ce of Environmental Assistance Education Clearinghouse) Minnesota Technical Assistance Program Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Many other states whose guides were followed Special appreciation to the following pre-publication readers: Ann Bernstein Ken Brown Bill Dunn Ruth Marston Cathy Moeger Barb Thoman Produced by: Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance in cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Education (formerly Minnesota Department of Children™s Families and Learning). Additional copies available from: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Learning Resource Center 520 Lafayette Road North St. Paul MN 55155 651-215-0232 or 800-877-6300

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Table of Contents Part I Introduction Page How to use this guide 1 Schools, recycling and the law 1 Interpretation of the law 1 Part II District organization and direction Create a school district recycling committee 2 Set challenging committee goals 2 Develop a school board policy on waste management 3 Determine budget and resource requirements 3 Promote and evaluate the district™s progress 3 Part III Building organization and operation Create a building committee on recycling at each school 4 Select a recycling leader at each school 4 Meet with community and solid waste officials 5 Decide what materials to recycle 5 Establish school goals 6 Develop a promotional program 6 Obtain and place collection containers 8 Arrange collection, storage and transport of materials 9 Establish a recycled products purchasing program 10 Evaluate the program 11 Part IV Appendices Recycling Team Worksheet 12 Waste Audit Worksheet 13 Buying Wisely to Reduce Waste 14 Identifying Recycled-content Products 16 Writing Specifications 18 Garbage and Recycling Services Specifications 19 Examples of school board policies 21 Research References 25 Creating Less Trash at School brochure Reducing Waste in the Workplace brochure

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Part I Introduction How to use this guide The purpose of this guide is to help school districts and/or individual schools get a recycling program organized and operating on any level; beginner, intermediate or advanced. Schools, recycling and the law The Minnesota State Legislature is committed to recycling as a way of life for all of its citizens. To meet this go al, a number of important laws have been enacted to encourage citizens to reduce waste, recycle, compost and preserve natural resources. In 1980, The Legislature passed the Waste Management Act. Among the provisions is Minn. Stat. § 115A.151, which calls upon school districts to formalize their recycling efforts in school buildings. The law reads as follows: (a) A public entity shall: (1) ensure that facilities under its control, from which mixed municipal solid waste is collected, have containers for at least three recyclable materials, such as, but not limited to, paper, glass, plastic, and metal; and (2) transfer all recyclable materials collected to a recycler. Interpretation of the law Minn. Stat. § 115A.151 is straightfor ward in its intent to motivate all Minnesota school districts (public schools) to collect at least three recyclable materials, such as paper, plastic & aluminum. In addition it emphasizes that recyclables must be delivered to a recycling facility. This will help eliminate the practice of dumping recyclables into trash dumpsters. Cost benefits of recycling When you start recycling, your waste volume will do down. By reducing your waste volume you can ultimately save your district money. For example, the state of Minnesota require waste haulers to add taxes or charges to the waste bill, but recycling and composting are exempt from these charges. For information about Minnesota Solid Waste tax go to aste/index.shtml Private schools and institutions are not required, but encourage d to recycle. in support of this, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) offers this guide. In addition, the MPCA developed waste management curricula for grades K-12 called WhataWaste. To request a copy please call the MPCA’s Resource Center at 651-215-0232 or 800-877-6300. 1

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Part II District Organization School districts have been on the cutting edge of societal change, leading the way on issues of environmental awareness, educating the handicapped, promoting multi-cultural, gender neutral curricula, requiring pay equity and much more. It is most appropriate that the schools would be called upon again to serve in a critical leadership capacity through a commitment to recycling and waste reduction. It is recommended that you organize at the school district level for the most efficient recycling operation. Listed are some general steps to follow. Create a school district recycling committee It takes many people from various sections of a school to put together a successful recycling program. Each person is essential when developing and maintaining the program effectively. If you are putting a recycling program together for the first time, you may want to team up with an existing team, such as Health & Safety, Wellness or other environmental committee/team. Here are some key people to have on your recycling committee. o School district business administrator. o School board member(s). o County solid waste offi cer (or representative) o Custodial union representative. o Teacher unio n representative o Food service representative o Secretarial or clerical representative o Building administrator o City governm ent representative o Student Council or student environmental group representative o PTA/PTO representativ e o Waste hauler repr esentative Set challenging committee goals The following are sample goals with could be establishe d by the recycling committee Invite local and county experts to make presentations to the committee on the problem, future plans, and opportunities for school district involvement. Set up a meeting with your county solid waste officer to discuss local recycling and waste reduction plans. Attempt to secure scho ol district representation or membership on the county solid waste solid waste committee (or to a municipal recycling committee if more appropriate). Direct the creation of building level committees on waste ma nagement and recycling. Work with local businesses and organizations to secure collection containers or funding to purchase containers and other needed items. 2

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Part III School / Building Organization The success of a recycling program depends on the level of involvement of the individual school buildings. If waste reduction and recycling are to become a part of daily living, staff, students and parents/guardians must get involved as active advocates for a change in waste management practices. Create a recycling committee at each school An effective committee would consist of enthusiastic, diverse people who will be most influential to the project. A Recycling Team Worksheet in the appendix will help guide you. Below is a list of key people to involve in your committee. o Recycling coordinator (leader) o School Administrator o PTA representative. o Kitchen staff o Custodial/maintenance staff o Faculty o Students (or an Environmental Club). o Waste disposal service provider. o Local government staff Goals and tasks to be considered by the school/building committee are: Publicize goals and tasks to staff, students and parents Conduct a waste audit Review the school’s waste hauling contract Determine materials to be recycled Secure storage units for recycled materials Specify recycling activities Establish and activate collection procedures Assign recycling program responsibilities to staff and students Inform and educate staff, students and parents about waste reduction and recycling Select a recycling leader at each school Parallel with the planning of a district recycling program, a district recycling coordinator mobilizes the participating schools to appoint individual building “recycling leaders.” School recycling leaders may be principals, teachers or experts from the community. The recycling leader responsibilities include: program implementation overall supervision and safe operation of the school’s recycling program continuing education & promotion ongoing evaluation and reporting results 4

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5 Meet with solid waste officials It is preferable for the school recycling committee to meet with the county solid waste officer or municipal recycling coordinator. They are experienced in waste management programs and familiar with local market resources Find recycling markets Before you start your recycing program, it’s important to know what can be recycled. Finding the right market means figuring out which businesses can best meet your school’s recycling needs. Questions to ask your waste service provide include: “What type of materials do you recycle? Where do your items go? How often would they be picked up? What type of bins do you provide? Your current waste service provider may offer recycling services. If your current hauler doesn’t offer recycling pick up, think about utilizing Resource Management Contracting, an innovative alternative to today’s typical waste management contracts. This type of contracting can help in reducing waste generation, increase recycling, obtain useable metrics & manage waste & recycling rate performance data. For more information go to Finding out who recycles what may be a good project for an environmental club. Decide what materials to recycle Conduct a survey It’s important to find out why people throw certain things away and what they know about recycling. Conducting a survey will help address some of the barriers to recycling. It will also assist in the types of bins needed and where to place them. A sample survey can be found in the appendix. Conduct surveys with: Students Teachers Custodial & maintenance staff Kitchen staff Administrative staff Assess the Waste Stream: A waste assessment is an on-site review of your waste stream. It will identify material types being discarded and what could potentially be recycled. This is an excellent opportunity to involve students in identifying all types of school waste. There are three techniques staff and students can follow to examine the school’s waste stream. Simple dumpster analysis. Visually inspect the school dumpsters. Make note of its contents and estimate the amount of each material. Document the material types that are most noticeable. Use the Waste Audit Worksheet included in the appendix. Conduct a dumpster search more than once to get an overall picture of school waste stream. There may be fluctuations in volume due to seasonal or course changes. Consult custodial staff, food service staff, business managers and support staff to find what items are discarded. School waste analysis. This method involves scientifically analyzing the type, volume and generation rate of school waste. It is important to use extreme care when collecting sample materials for identification. In order to identify the samples, contact the local solid waste office, recycling office or a local recycler.

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6 Procurement analysis. This method involves examining what the school purchases to determine what may eventually become waste. This analysis also allows a review of procurement practices to determine what recycled products can be purchased. To help you find products, an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Guide is available on-line at search under “publications”. What about materials that cannot be recycled? There are some waste materials which might be recycled, but due to technological or economic constraints they are not recycled at this time. Individual milk cartons and juice containers are examples. Meanwhile, schools can reduce their weight by draining the cartons and reduce the volume through compaction before disposal. Determine what materials can be reduced or recycled. Consider materials from the classroom, office, cafeteria and grounds. For both recycling and waste reduction, consider: What alternatives are there for separating, preparing, collecting, storing and transporting the items? What alternatives are best for our school situation? Are there materials we want to market ourselves to redeem funds for school projects? Which materials are best left for the recyclables collector to handle? Note: Food waste from school cafeterias can be managed in a variety of ways. Independent School District 196 in Dakota County implemented a succesful Compost Pilot Project. For more information, go to: . Also listed in the appendix is Food Waste Management Resourses. Establish school goals Establish school goals for the overall amount of recyclables to be collected. For example, set goals for each classroom and an overall school recycling goal. Involve students in designing charts that monitor the amount of material collected on a monthly basis. Keep a running total, displaying the school’s progress in a prominent place. Everyone will try hard to reach goals if they know what is expected. Consider establishing waste reduction goals, as well. See the appendix for waste reduction ideas. Develop a promotional program A school information campaign should be planned and implemented to ensure that everyone understands the reasons for recycling and waste reduction, to motivate as many people as possible to take part, and to explain what and how materials are going to be recycled. This is a key step. Experience has shown the best programs will fail if there is no understanding or motivation. The following activities for students could be part of your information campaign. Have a recycling kick-off assembly Design and make posters on what, how and why to reduce and recycle. Design, make and decorate collection containers for collecting and storing recyclables. These might be made from 55-gallon plastic or metal drums or from heavy cardboard boxes.

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7 Design school plays or skits around a reduction or recycling theme. Provide contests among classes, grades and buildings to stimulate involvement. Use the K-12 curriculum lessons on solid and hazardous waste management: “WhatAWaste” Available from the MPCA. Hold a science fair to display research projects related to recycling, such as compiling energy savings from recycling, composition studies of solid waste, making a list or map of recycling industries in the community. Survey the community to determine why some people recycle and others do not. Do art projects using only used items such as scraps of fabrics, plastic foam packing materials or plastic bottles. Tour local recycling centers and industries. In addition, the school recycling leader or the environmental club could publicize the school’s goals and accomplishments in the following ways. Monthly reports to PTA/PTO. Regular, weekly reports over school’s public address system. Monthly reports in student newspaper. Monthly reports in principal’s newsletter to parents. Periodic reports to local newspapers to inform the community. Work with local media for publicity. Monthly presentation at faculty meeting. As the program moves from the exciting introductory stage to the maintenance stage, participation may fall off and contamination of recyclables may increase. You will need to step up your education efforts by continually and positively reinforcing your message. Use your school news networks to keep interest high by publicizing program goals as they are met. For example, announce the collection of the first ton of paper, or the diversion of 90 percent of the school’s steel food cans from the landfill, or report that 5,800 cans have been collected and recycled to date. Some schools may have contamination problems where recyclables become contaminated with unacceptable materials, or where regular trash contains recyclables. Monitoring the program and reminding students and staff about correct procedures must be a permanent part of your publicity. On the other hand, praise should also be used as a motivator. This can be accomplished through contests and awards, such as the recycling group of the month. Periodically you may want to organize special events, such as luncheon or dinner award ceremonies, to honor volunteers for their recycling excellence.

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