UCRRA offers resources for both teachers and students to learn about recycling, composting, and waste reduction. UCRRA staff can interact with your school in a number of ways, such as: conducting large assemblies, classroom visits,  presentations and games, table at school events, and more.

Click here to view our List of Youth Programs

UCRRA can also offer technical guidance on how to improve your school recycling program. UCRRA Staff are available to help schools plan, implement, or improve a waste reduction, recycling, or composting program. Contact the Recycling Outreach Team at 845-336-0600 to learn more.

Tips for Better School Recycling

  • Recycling bins should be clearly labeled for faculty/students. If possible, color-code bins and use signs to identify the different bins and what materials can be recycled/composted/discarded. UCRRA offers free recycling/trash/compost stickers for schools!
  • Make sure recycling bins are always located directly next to trash bins.
  • Keep a separate bin for deposit containers (water bottles, soda cans, etc.) where students and staff have lunch or snacks. Use the funds from redemption to support the school recycling program or donate the funds to a local community group.
  • Celebrate Earth Day, Compost Awareness Week, and America Recycles Day! Engage the students with the importance of recycling.
  • Opt for reusable, durable supplies over disposable ones in the cafeteria. Offer condiments in bulk rather than individually-packaged.
  • Use double-sided printing and copying as a default printer setting. Make sure there’s a recycling bin next to the printer station!
  • Circulate memos and documents instead of printing multiple copies.


The New York State Association for Reduction, ReUse, and Recycling has a Green School Grant Program open for public and private schools grades K-12. Your school could become eligible for up to $500 in funds to help establish or support a recycling or composting program! Awards are given twice yearly. These grants are competitive, so ingenuity and initiative is key to conceptualizing your grant proposal.

More Resources

Cornell WM Institute // Composting in Schools

Cornell WM Institute // Compost in the Classroom Curriculum

Cornell WM Institute // Trash Goes To School

Cornell WM Institute // Composting in the Classroom: A Scientific Guide for High School Students 

CWMI // Spanish Educational Materials 

NYS DEC // Green Schools

NYS DEC // Resource Book for Schools

NYS DEC // Resource Book for Colleges

NYS DEC // Recycling Facts Brochure 

NERC // Paper Use Reduction in Schools

NERC // Composting at School

NERC // Implementing a Successful Green School Program

NERC // Resource Page for Schools 

NYSAR3 // Grant Program for NY Colleges 

USDA // Food Waste Challenge 

US Composting Council // Teachers & Students Resource Page  

Smarter Lunchrooms Movement // Measuring Cafeteria Tray Waste 

EPA Office of Environmental Education http://www.epa.gov/enviroed/

EPA Environmental Kids Clubs (Age 4-10) http://www.epa.gov/kids/ 

EPA Student Center (Grades 5-9) http://www.epa.gov/students/

EPA High School http://www.epa.gov/highschool/

EPA Recycle City (interactive Web Game) http://www.epa.gov/recyclecity/school.htm

EPA Teacher Resources http://www.epa.gov/teachers/

Waste Free Lunches http://www.wastefreelunches.org/