Teachers & Staff

Your classroom matters!

Almost 50% of classroom trash consists of recyclable paper. If your school doesn’t have a recycling program, click here. You’ll be setting an example that kids will bring home now, and practice throughout their lives.

Material Classes Disposed in the School Waste Stream

Source: CalRecycle, (2005)

Waste Reduction Tips in the Classroom

  • Purchase the paper with the highest percentage of postconsumer waste.
  • Eliminate the purchase of paper and paper products that aren’t recyclable, which are deemed potential contaminants of the educational agency’s paper recycling program.
  • If you have paper that was used only on one side, use the other side for scratch paper. You might try cutting it into halves or fourths and stapling it together to make scratch pads.
  • If you have books left over from last year, find out if some other student a year behind you can use them for the same classes.

How to Start a Recycling Program

Starting a waste reduction program in your classroom is easy! Follow our steps below.

  1. Gain permission from your school administrators and districts.
  2. Set up an ambassador or team of parents, teachers, or students that can collect the materials and take to a local recycling center.
  3. Purchase a recycling bin or create one from cardboard materials. Make it a class project to build and decorate the recycling bins.
  4. Educate students in the classroom about what can and cannot be recycled.
  5. Begin recycling! If you decide to collect bottles and cans, take to a CRV redemption center and earn cash for your recyclables.
  6. Use the cash to purchase more bins! Encourage other classrooms to start a recycling program.

California EEI

The California Education and the Environment Initiative (California EEI) Curriculum, offered by CalRecycle, is a cooperative, statewide effort to help K-12 students learn about the environment and how it relates to their everyday lives.

The instructional materials offer accurate and current waste management information that encourages “reduce, reuse, and recycle” in the classroom and at home while making it exciting and interesting for both teachers and students.

Visit CalRecycle for more information.

Curiosity Quest

Orange County works closely with Curiosity Quest, a family educational program that explores what viewers are curious about. In each show, host Joel Greene ventures on a quest to answer viewer’s letters of curiosity.

See Curiosity Quest and “Curiosity Quest Goes Green” for a listing of the recycling episodes that you can share with your classroom.

Discovery Science Center Program

Visit our partnership page to learn about our Discovery Science Center Assembly program partnership.