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
Public entities, including schools, are required by law to recycle at least three recyclable materials. St. Louis County can help ensure that your school is compliant with this regulation.

What are the benefits of recycling at school?

  • Cost savings: Recycling bills are exempt from certain taxes that the State of Minnesota requires haulers to place on waste bills. By increasing recycling and decreasing the frequency or volume of your waste collection, schools can save a substantial amount of money.  
  • A better environment: Not only does recycling preserve landfill space, but it also saves natural resources and energy that is required to make new products. It takes 95% less energy to manufacture an aluminum can from recycled materials than new materials, which means fewer greenhouse gas emissions and a smaller impact on our water and air.
  • A better economy: More than 37,000 jobs in Minnesota are supported by the recycling industry. Furthermore, recyclables have tremendous economic value and companies rely on these materials to create new products.

Among these benefits, recycling teaches students invaluable lessons about how they can contribute to a clean and healthy environment!

Best Practices for Recycling Bins and Labels

  • Make sure that trash bins and recycling bins are placed next to each other so that recycling is convenient and easy.
  • Use signage that is clear and easy to see. Make sure that the same signs and colors are used throughout the school. Scroll down for free signs to use in your school.
  • Use images on signs and keep text to a minimum.
  • Place containers in high traffic areas where trash and recycling are generated.
  • Provide desk-side boxes for paper recycling in offices and classrooms.

Paired recycling and trash bins
Paired recycling and trash bins
Paired recycling and trash bins
1 2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 3
 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