School Outreach & Resources

What does Universal Recycling mean for your school?

The Universal Recycling law ensures that all Vermonters have convenient and consistent services for recycling and composting; this includes at school. Schools play a critical role in waste reduction as producers of recyclables and food scraps, but most importantly as educators. Schools serve as models for their communities and can teach students why recycling and composting matter. Behaviors we learn as children become our habits as adults, and the efforts schools make today will be second nature for tomorrow’s leaders.

Here’s a helpful one-page guide to Materials Management Requirements For Businesses, Institutions, and Schools in Vermont.

If your school needs help improving your recycling or food scrap collection systems, call ANR at 802-828-1138 or contact us.

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TerraCycle defines itself as “…a social enterprise Eliminating the Idea of Waste®.” They offer the opportunity to recycle many items that are not suitable for “blue bin” recycling, the recycling we practice in our day-to-day lives.

At school, TerraCycle Zero Waste Box programs can capture non-blue bin recyclables, like candy and snack wrappers. For schools where students continue to eat lunch in classrooms, due to the pandemic, the right Zero Waste Box can capture at least some of the additional lunchtime waste being produced, including plastic eating utensils and single-use, black plastic meal trays, neither of which are suitable for blue bin recycling.

Through a TerraCycle Zero Waste Box collection initiative, students are engaged in a very worthwhile project, with measurable, tangible results, while gaining first-hand experience in how to keep harder-to-recycle materials out of the landfill.

TerraCycle Zero Waste Boxes come with a fee, which depends on the size of box purchased. The fee covers shipping for the box and the cost of recycling the materials collected. If school funds are not available, a grant application, requesting funding to purchase of one or more boxes, can be submitted through our School Zero Waste Grant Program. Support is available to complete a grant application; contact John Jose if you need assistance.

This YouTube video by Lucy Biggers of “Now This Earth” provides an excellent overview of what TerraCycle is about and how their Zero Waste Box program works.

State of Vermont Resources

Universal Recycling in Schools: What does it mean for your school?

Waste Not Guide Poster – What to do with items that are banned from the trash

Agency of Natural Resources Hazardous Waste Management Assistance for Schools

Vaping/E-Cigarette Safety Management for Schools

Food Scraps webpage – How to design and build on-site compost systems, list of food scrap haulers

Food Donation webpages – information on Food Share Tables and how to rescue food for donation

Getting Started with School Composting Guide – Analyzing your options and getting tips for a successful system

On-Site Composting: A School Implementation Guide

Envision Program: Promoting Healthy School Environments – Assisting schools with Indoor Air quality

School Environmental Health Act 125 was passed into law with goals to improve school air quality, reduce hazardous exposures, and helps schools earn the Envision Certificate of Achievement.

Informed Green Solutions: Informed has a grant to work with VT schools on green cleaning and has many resources on their website, including a Toolkit for Green Cleaning and information on Environmentally Preferable Purchasing. They are interested in working with more K-12 schools as well as Early Childcare Facilities.

School Food Waste Solutions: When kids waste food, they not only waste resources but also set patterns of behavior for life. K–12 schools across the country are taking steps to change that.


Stop Waste – Excellent information and curriculum materials.

Shelburne Farms – Provides environmental and sustainability education for children, adults, and educators, both through their website and at their farm.

Keep America Beautiful – Guidebooks available online are comprehensive, contain excellent overviews on waste-related topics, and have many well-designed classroom lessons.

Cornell Waste Management Institute – Research, outreach, training, and technical assistance, with a focus on organic residuals. Many lesson plans available through their Trash Goes To School program.

The Story of Stuff Project – Short films, lesson plans, podcasts about how we make, use, and throw away Stuff.

Vermont Building and General Service purchasing contracts – for recycling and food scrap collection containers and other supplies

Trash Contract Renegotiation Guide – Information for schools and businesses on waste hauling fees, to assist in contract negotiation and cost savings

New England Grassroots Environmental Fund – (NEGF) supports community-based environmental projects throughout New England. NEGF provides resources, tools, and trainings, as well as grants to groups and schools beginning or improving environmental projects.