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School Recycling Program


Who may participate?
The School Paper Recycling Program is one of San Bernardino's citywide commercial recycling services. This program is available to schools within the San Bernardino City limits that are serviced for refuse by the City Refuse and Recycling Division.

What materials are acceptable in this program?

A wide variety of paper fibers materials are acceptable in this program: all colors of office paper, newspaper and phonebooks, cardboard, and even magazine stock.

Do we have to provide our own collection containers?

No. The City Refuse and Recycling Division provides clearly labeled, bright blue plastic indoor collection containers, and lockable commercial recycling bins to participating schools.

What if we want to recycle other materials?

The City is able to collect many types of recyclable materials. If you have questions about recycling other materials, please give our staff a call at 909-384-5549 ext. 3038.

Is this a fundraiser?

No. However this program has three very valuable benefits:
1. Hundreds of tons of paper fibers once disposed in landfills will now be used to make new products such as newsprint, pencils, and even roofing felt.

2. The program is not an added cost -- schools will save landfill disposal costs on the materials they divert.

3. This program provides a hands-on opportunity for children to take responsibility for their living environment.

Do we have to call in for collection?

No more piles of recyclables to bag or bale! The recyclables are collected loose in permanent commercial bins on a set schedule with a minimum of once a week service on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.

The only time you may need to call is if your school experiences a shift in the volume of waste being generated such as during track changes. All changes in service must be approved through SBCUSD Building Services.

What do we do?

1. Select an on-site representative to act as a liaison to coordinate and monitor the program. This person may be an administrator, a teacher, or a custodian, but should have a motivated interest in the success of the program. It is helpful to select a second representative that works a different track to act as a back-up when needed.

2. Monitor and keep track of three things: volume, diversion and contamination. This means watching what materials are being disposed in the commercial bins and the indoor containers, and then providing feedback to all participating. You can have fun with this!

3. Determine how and by whom the recyclables will be transferred from the indoor collection containers to the outdoor bins. Schools that have students assigned to assist with collection have noted increased diversion and decreased contamination.

What is Diversion?

Diversion is the amount of waste materials kept out of landfills. Diversion is measured by volume (cubic yards) or more commonly by weight (tons) and is monitored through reports to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) for each City.

What is Contamination?

The materials collected should be reasonably clean and dry. Food and liquid waste, and excessive glues or paints will contaminate the paper fibers, as well as carbon and waxed papers. Although many other materials are recyclable such as aluminum, plastic and glass beverage containers, they are not targeted for this program as they increase the risk of food and liquid waste contamination.

How do we get started?

1. Contact the City's Environmental Projects Division staff at (909) 384-5549 in order to schedule a meeting to meet with administration, faculty, and staff from your school to determine how the program may best meet your needs.

2. City Staff will then hold orientation assemblies to prepare the students to participate.

3. Program materials and containers are distributed and your school is ready to go. It's that simple!

Close the Loop

We are not truly recycling our material resources unless we utilize recycled-content materials. Look for products labeled a minimum 20% "recycled-content" and more importantly "post consumer". There are many types of recycled-content products available at comparable prices in local stores.

Share the World!

Please share with us your school's environmental activities. Do the students have a club? Are you studying or measuring your school's waste? The City of San Bernardino Environmental Projects Division provides two copies of an Environmental Education Guide to all schools within the San Bernardino City Unified School District. This guide has a selection of projects, curricula, low or no-cost resources, and presentations available in a variety of environmental subjects to teachers. Do you know of valuable classroom resources not included in the City's Environmental Education Guide? Let us know and we will share your ideas and insights with other schools.