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.

Carton Recycling in St. Louis County

The Carton Council recently provided recycling bins to Iron Range schools interested in recycling milk cartons and juice boxes. Seven schools are currently recycling cartons and seeing huge reductions in their waste! According to the Carton Council, a school of 500 students can conserve 170,651 sheets of paper, 5,970 gallons of water, and 417 bags of trash per year by recycling milk cartons. 

See how Cherry and Hibbing Schools set up carton recycling in their lunch rooms below. For a more in depth look at how other Minnesota schools are recycling cartons, watch this webinar brought to you by Recycling Association of Minnesota and the Carton Council. 

Recycling Reuse Waste Reduction Teacher Resources

Take your students on a tour of St. Louis County’s Regional Landfill and Recycling Center to learn about what happens to our waste and recyclables! To schedule a tour please call Mary McReynolds at 749-0648.

Guidebooks: Use to following guides to expand your recycling or waste prevention efforts or start a new program.

Carton Recycling in Schools:  Cartons are now recyclable in St. Louis County! Carton Council’s program start up guide gives you all the steps to successfully start milk carton recycling at your school.

Get FoodWISE! Manual: Provides tips on how to reduce food waste at school.

Healthy Sustainable Schools Guide for Change: Contains resources to create healthy sustainable schools through changes in building operations, waste reduction and recycling, toxicity reduction, and other health related strategies.

Recycle More Minnesota School Toolkits: Provides resources, case studies, and a toolkit to implement a successful school recycling program.

Recycling Curriculum: Integrating recycling and waste reduction into your classroom lessons is easy, fun, and will teach your students about the importance of environmental responsibility.

Facing the Future offers free lesson plans focused on sustainability and global environmental issues. Download the "Buy, Use, Toss" unit created in collaboration with the Story of Stuff Project

JASON Learning has partnered with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. to create recycling and waste lesson plans geared toward science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies. For example, students can learn about the science behind the recycling loop for different recyclable materials.

Nature Bridge presents hands on Garbology Lessons to teach k-12 students about waste topics such as composting, product packaging and how paper is recycled. 

SEEK (Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge)’s resource directory is a collection of environmental education resources, including curricula, software, videos, and posters, among other tools to educate about the environment.

Fundraising/School Recycling Programs: Looking to raise some funds for your school or simply reduce the amount of waste that you send to the landfill? There are many programs that will take your recyclable materials!

Crazy Crayons: Did you know that more than 12 million crayons are made in the U.S. everyday? To prevent these from going into the landfill, you can collect any unwanted or broken crayons from your school and ship them to be recycled into new crayons! 

Funding Factory: Collect inkjet or toner cartridges, cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, and other electronics for cash.

TerraCycle: Sign up for a “Brigade” Program that allows you to collect non-recyclable or hard to recycle items, such as candy wrappers, drink pouches, or Elmer’s glue bottles. In exchange for these items, which will be converted into new products, you will receive TerraCycle Points that can be redeemed for charitable gifts or payment to a non-profit or school.  

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 TitleModified DateSize 
Bottles/cans/cartons recycling sign11/24/2014316.04 KBDownload
Cardboard recycling sign11/24/20141.24 MBDownload
Carton recycling sign11/24/2014262.33 KBDownload
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