School Recycling Program

What is the School Recycling Program?

The School Recycling Program provides recycling funding, support, and coordination to select schools in Washtenaw County. The program not only coordinates the collection and hauling of recyclable materials away from the school, but also implements recycling education into the school’s curriculum and culture.

  1. Lauren Koloski

    Environmental Supervisor

Dexter school recycling - kids with carts Cornerstone
Dexter school recycling - Alexis with carts Cornerstone
Photos from Dexter Community Schools.

How does it work?

Washtenaw County funds and coordinates the program, while organizational partners implement the on-site educational programming and collection logistics. Advanced Disposal collects corrugated cardboard from the schools, while Recycle Ann Arbor collects the remainder of the recyclable materials. In the classroom, the Ecology Center implements educational programming. They also train the schools’ faculty and support staff to help establish a whole organizational recycling culture at all levels. 

School Recycling Program Timeline

Collaboration between these organizational partners are crucial to the program’s continued success. Both Washtenaw County and Recycle Ann Arbor monitor recycling bin contents and alert the Ecology Center of non-recyclable contamination. The Ecology Center can then tailor their educational programming to address the issues that may arise. In the 2017-2018 school year, surveys about recyclable materials were given to students in 14 of 21 schools at the beginning and end of the year. In 11 of the 14 schools, students’ recycling knowledge improved by 65%. 

Each year, as the program grows, so does the amount of waste diverted from the landfill. To manage the growth of the program Washtenaw County requires each partner to collect metrics. When the program began in the 2015-2016 school year, about 13.5 tons of recycling was diverted from the landfill.

School Recycling Program Graph

Program Reports

2019 School Recycling Program Report

2015-2017 DEQ Community Pollution Prevention Grant School Recycling Program Report


School Recycling Program Contest

Advance Disposal has sponsored an annual contest for participating schools.

Past Winners

2018-2019: Heritage Elementary

2017-2018: Heritage Elementary and Ypsilanti Middle School

Currently Participating Schools

  • Achieving College & Career Education (Ypsilanti)
  • Anchor Elementary School (Dexter)
  • Bates Elementary School (Dexter) 
  • Beacon Elementary School (Dexter)
  • Bishop Elementary School (Ypsilanti) 
  • Brick Elementary School (Ypsilanti)
  • Childs Elementary School (Ypsilanti)
  • Creekside Intermediate School (Dexter)
  • Dexter High School
  • Go Like the Wind Montessori School (Whitmore Lake)
  • Harvest Elementary School (Saline)
  • Heritage School (Saline)
  • Jenkins Early Childhood Education Center (Dexter)
  • Lincoln High School (Ypsilanti)
  • Lincoln Middle School (Ypsilanti)
  • Milan Middle School 
  • Mill Creek Middle School (Dexter)
  • Model Elementary School (Ypsilanti)
  • Paddock Elementary School (Milan)
  • Pleasant Ridge Elementary School (Saline)
  • Saline High School
  • Saline Middle School
  • Symons Elementary School (Milan)
  • Washtenaw International High School (Ypsilanti)
  • Washtenaw International Middle Academy (Ypsilanti)
  • Whitmore Lake Elementary School
  • Whitmore Lake Middle and High School
  • Woodland Meadows Elementary School (Saline)
  • Wylie Elementary School (Dexter)
  • Ypsilanti Community High School
  • Ypsilanti Community Middle School

School Recycling in the News 

Is your school interested in implementing a recycling or other waste reduction related project? Washtenaw County also offers a waste reduction sponsorship that may suit your needs!