LAND & PROPERTYGarbage & RecyclingRecycling Services3Rs for Schools   

Reuse, Reduce, Recycle at School

In Minnesota, nearly 24% of material generated by schools is food waste while 28% is material that can be recycled. There are many opportunities for schools to participate in waste reduction, recycling, and composting to keep natural resources like aluminum, paper, and even plastic in use, rather than sitting in a landfill. Not only that, but reducing, reusing and recycling means your school is saving money by purchasing less and cutting costs on trash pick ups.


Mesabi East Schools Receive Recycling Bins

MErecyclilng bins

Mesabi East Schools received a boost to their recycling program when Rachel Doherty took advantage of a networking opportunity to get bins that a metro county no longer needed. Dakota County was clearing out their recycling container inventory and Mesabi East Schools was able to obtain over $5,000 worth of needed supplies at no cost to boost in-school recycling. In addition, Ms Doherty received a $2500.00 grant from Wal-Mart to purchase more recycling bins for Mesabi East!  

Cherry and North Woods Recycle Nearly 17 Tons During 2014-2015 School Year

Read how Cherry and North Woods Schools recycled over 33,800 pounds of material this year and how other schools have been working to become better stewards of the environment through recycling!

Chemical Safety Day Program 2015

The University of Minnesota is offering a Chemical Safety Program to assist schools and colleges in disposing of unwanted chemicals and hazardous waste from science, art, industrial technology, and maintenance departments. Collection dates for the Iron Range area will take place August 11-13, 2015. To sign up or for more information, visit

Locker Clean Out

Low Waste Locker Clean Out at Mt. Iron-Buhl

Mt. Iron-Buhl High School has put both recycling and reuse into action by coordinating a low-waste locker clean out, an effort to keep recyclable and re-usable materials out of the trash as lockers are emptied at the end of the year. During the 2014-2015 school year, MIB  students collected over 200 pounds of paper for recycling and 78 pounds of folders, binders, pencils and other supplies to be re-used next school year. Very little trash was created, demonstrating that our lockers are filled with items that don’t need to go to waste.

Recycling Reuse Waste Reduction Teacher Resources

Waste reduction is the most effective strategy to save money and have a positive impact on the environment. For schools, there are a number of ways for students and staff members to reduce waste:

                Lunchroom Waste:

  • Purchase items in bulk rather than individual packages
  • Offer food to students rather than serving it to them
  • Provide appropriate portions based on age group of students
  •  Do a lunch count each morning so the kitchen knows how many students will be eating hot lunch or alternative lunch
  •  Cut fruits and vegetables into quarters or wedges so they are easier for students to see and take
  • Use washable trays and silverware and cloth napkins in place of paper napkins
  • Host “waste-free” lunch days

                Classroom Waste:

  • Look for durable, long-lasting supplies that can be reused
  • Allow students to submit homework on the backside of used paper
  • Save unused paper or back side of papers for note taking or scratch paper
  • For class parties, use plates or utensils from recycled material or encourage students to bring in their own reusable items

                Office Waste:

  • Conduct a junk mail campaign to prevent unwanted or repeated mail
  •  Print on both sides of paper when handing out assignments or tests
  • Only print off handouts that are necessary
  • Purchase paper from recycled content.

The Waste Reduction Awareness Program (WRAP) provides more information and resources on cutting waste at school.

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 TitleModified DateSize 
Bottles/cans/cartons recycling sign11/24/2014316.04 KBDownload
Cardboard recycling sign11/24/20141.24 MBDownload
Common school recyclables11/24/2014419.85 KBDownload
Paper recycling sign11/24/20141.27 MBDownload
Trash sign11/24/20141.33 MBDownload

To arrange classroom presentations about recycling and waste topics or to receive assistance with improving your school's recycling program please contact:

Michael Krick

St. Louis County Environmental Services

307 First St. S., Ste. 115
Virginia, Minnesota  55792