How to Reduce Waste in Schools

How to Reduce Waste in Schools

The push to reduce waste and boost recycling efforts is becoming a central theme in our lives, especially at home. But what about at work or school? As more of us become recycling enthusiasts, sharing insights and strategies with coworkers, including those in educational settings, is becoming increasingly common. If you’re eager to cut down on waste at your school and share some handy tips with your team, you’re in the right place. Here’s how to make a start:

Recycling in the Staff Room

Kick off your recycling journey in the staff room, an ideal spot for beginners. Set up a designated recycling area where teachers can conveniently sort their waste into clearly labelled bins for plastics, cans, paper, glass, and possibly food waste, depending on your collection service. This small step can significantly impact your school’s recycling habits.

Turn Trash into Cash

Terracycle offers a brilliant program where schools can set up recycling stations for hard-to-recycle plastics, turning waste into cash. Spread the word among parents and the community to broaden your recycling efforts and enhance your school’s benefit. This initiative not only supports your school financially but also promotes a greater environmental impact.

Terracycle enables you to earn points with the recycling you collect, the points can then be redeemed as cash (for schools and charitable organisations only). Click here to find out more: Earn cash with Terracycle

Think Before You Buy

Before rushing to buy new supplies, consider what you already have. Cardboard boxes, yogurt pots, and other recyclables can be creatively repurposed for class projects. Encouraging reuse over purchasing new items can lead to significant savings and lessen environmental impact.

Don’t be afraid to ask for supplies

If you have a project coming up, don’t be afraid to ask your pupil’s parents to start collecting the items needed.

If you require larger items such as a new table outside under your school canopy, ask parents if they or any of their family or friends work on construction sites. The wooden cable reels upcycle perfectly as tables. You can also ask for donations of unwanted pallets if you have a handy man or parent with some spare time and skills, consider asking them to volunteer to build a table for you.

Join local recycling Facebook groups, you’d be surprised what people give away for free. Also, try contacting local companies and ask them to keep you in mind for donations of materials that would otherwise be thrown in the skip.

Some fantastic materials that you can save from landfill and give a new lease of life to include:

  • Large wooden cable reels – turn these into tables
  • Large tyres – use as planters, seats, swings and on PE assault courses
  • Pallets – build all sorts including tables, chairs, planters and mud kitchens
  • Cardboard boxes – for all kinds of crafts and to paint on

Reusing your own waste materials and asking for donations of items can save your schools heaps of cash.

Able Canopies Goes Green

At Able Canopies, we’ve embraced recycling, earning our ISO 14001 certification for environmental management. Since October 2021, we’re been taking it a step further by planting a tree for every canopy ordered by a school, contributing to carbon reduction and supporting natural ecosystems. Choosing a canopy from us means you’re also supporting these environmental efforts. Find out more about our canopy tree planting scheme here.


Recycling, reusing, and upcycling are not just about waste reduction—they’re opportunities to innovate, save money, and contribute to helping the planet. Engaging in these practices is a no-brainer for schools looking to make a positive impact. Join us in turning recycling into a rewarding part of your school’s culture.

Download your free copy of our Eco-Friendly guide which includes worksheets for your pupils to learn the important of recycling and looking after our wildlife:

Able Canopies Ltd. design, manufacture and install commercial grade canopies, shade sails, awnings and shelters across the UK. We specialise in servicing the education, leisure, healthcare and retail sectors and have extensive experience working with schools, councils, architects and contracting firms.

For more information on our products and services please contact us. Follow us on our social media accounts for the latest funding advice, new products & latest news:
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn Instagram