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.
Learn more about the program and who is involved in the video below!
Washtenaw County funds and coordinates the program, while organizational partners implement the on-site educational programming and collection logistics. Stevens 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.
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.
2020-2021: Pleasant Ridge Elementary (above, left) and Washtenaw International High School (above, right)
2019-2020: Cancelled due to Covid
2018-2019: Heritage Elementary
2017-2018: Heritage Elementary and Ypsilanti Middle School