Every day, Minnesota public schools generate an estimated 500,000 pounds of waste — with nearly 80 percent of it recyclable or compostable. Without a recycling program in place, all recyclables in the trash end up in landfills or incinerators. Recycling and composting waste from all schools makes sense — financially, environmentally and socially.
Starting or improving a recycling and composting program is a way to:
- Engage students in scientific inquiry
- Demonstrate the importance of a healthy environment
- Educate about waste reduction and recycling for staff, students and parents
- Complement many internal recycling initiatives such as green teams or student councils
- Reduce trash hauling costs.
Schools in Dakota County can get free containers, labels, educational resources and technical assistance through the Dakota County School Recycling Program.
Recycling markets are changing
With some countries no longer taking our recyclable materials, U.S. recyclers can be selective about the quality of recyclables they buy. Now more than ever, it's important to keep contaminants out of the recycling bin.
Your recycling will be recycled — state law prohibits materials separated and collected for recycling from being trashed. But, the recycling industry needs our help. To make sure we're putting recyclables where they should go, refer your staff and students to the Recycling & Trash page.
Some haulers are already increasing fees to commercial customers for contamination.
Stay in the know
Subscribe to the Environmental Resources E-News for Schools to get the latest news on school recycling and waste reduction in Dakota County.
Teacher Educational Resources
Teachers and school staff can borrow activity kits, displays and other educational materials from Dakota County.
Best Practices: School Set-up and Placement Guide
Tips and tricks for improving your recycling program with Dakota County assistance.
Green Schools Program
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has detailed information for comprehensive green practices specific to schools.
Recycle More Toolkit
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency developed the toolkit to help schools get a recycling program organized and operating successfully including first steps, best practices and case studies.
School Reuse and Cleanout Day Guide
Use this guide from Rethink Recycling to help prevent waste and maximize the reuse and recycling of materials during end of the school year cleanouts.
Case Study: Pine Bend Elementary End of School Greenout
This Dakota County school set a goal to collect more reusable and recyclable materials at the end of the school year, with some exciting results.