Schools: Educational Resources

Lesson Plan

We’ve developed a 30-minute lesson plan for K-5 classes to help children understand the importance of recycling and composting, and what types of materials go into each of the different colored containers. You can customize the lesson plan to your grade level—from cutting out pictures that children can match to bins, to the scientific definitions of the composting process. 

You can download the in-person lesson plan and sort activity here:

  1. Sort Your Lunch Lesson Plan
  2. Recycling and Food Scraps Bins
  3. Recycling and Food Scraps at Mealtime

Online lesson for sorting: 

  1. Sorting Superheroes with food share
  2. Sorting Superheroes (without food share)
  3. Zero Waste Lunch Superheroes (How to pack a zero-waste lunch)

Free Bins

We have three forms you can use to help ensure your school is completely equipped for a robust recycling and composting program. Depending on availability, bins usually arrive at your school within a few days.

  • Dumpster Watch – Use this form to track how full your dumpsters are, whether your school only has landfill or also has recycling, food scraps and yard trimmings. This will help you “rightsize” the dumpsters and also help track your recycling rates. If you’re just starting a Wastebusters program, you might want to complete this form once again after a few months.
  • “Binventory” – Complete this spreadsheet to determine how many recycling and compost containers and bins your school already has and how many more you might need. You’ll need to send that to us, along with your bin order.
  • Bin Orders  –  Then use the order form for free containers and bins of all kinds in all sizes, plus aprons and grabbers for your Dumpster Watch team. Republic Services will deliver your additional bins and other items.

Free Posters, Stickers and Signs

You can download posters or you can order them from us free of charge. And be sure to order stickers and signs you can use on the bins or other places to remind people what to put in the different colored bins.

Sorting signs to download or order free of charge

Bumper Sticker-Sized Signs (print or order free stickers)

Student Action Projects

Seven Hills School Case Study – 80% Diversion

Staying Green During Quarantine Helpful flyer created by 2019-20 Miramonte student-intern for Recycle Smart.

Acalanes HS Environmental Board Follow the 2020-21 AHS Envio Board on Instagram 

Sustainable Leaders in Action  Sustainable Leaders in Action, or SLIA, is the youth leadership branch of Sustainable Contra Costa that is 100% youth-led.

Sorting Videos

Sorting 101 RecycleSmart Schools and the City of Boulder, CO have the same sorting requirements. RecycleSmart was given permission to use this video for sorting education.

These videos were created by CCC high school students to help their schools improve sorting.

Miramonte Environmental & Leadership Club

Campolindo Sustainability 2020

Campolindo Environmental Club

Northgate Environmental Club 2019

Ruth Abbe

School Recycling Coordinator


More Resources

Green Team!

Related Links