The Newton School Committee unanimously voted to pass the School Recycling Policy on May 13. This new guideline is an important first step not only to improve recycling, but to improve management of all waste in Newton Public Schools (NPS).

While all NPS schools currently have a recycling dumpster and bins, the operations within each school are inconsistent. If available, they rely on volunteer efforts (teacher, staff, student or parent) to work with custodians to ensure that recycling happens. No one is officially  responsible for recycling planning, implementation, monitoring and promotion. Efforts fall apart as recycling volunteers graduate or leave. It is an unsustainable model.

The new policy recognizes the need to reduce solid waste and waste disposal costs. In compliance with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s waste bans, NPS will have to recycle materials that would otherwise become waste and ” all district personnel are expected to support recycling efforts throughout the schools and teachers are encouraged to include educational lessons on recycling in their curriculums.”

We agree with the School Committee that the “success in reducing waste through recycling is based on the cooperation of all the individuals in the school community.” We encourage our community to be part of this effort to build an effective recycling program. Please join us!

“Even the smallest recycling program requires cooperation among the administration, faculty, custodians, parents groups and students. Programs that are successful have garnered the support and commitment from each of these groups early in the planning process. School principals have an overarching interest and understanding of their school’s functions. Teachers have a keen understanding of student abilities and educational opportunities. Custodians are expert in their awareness of the building, the flow and composition of its wastes and possible sites to store materials. Students have fun suggestions for promotion and they are willing recyclers.” (MassRecycle, p. 11)

The list of benefits from recycling (and better managing waste) is long and is measurable. But the greatest benefit of all is probably the future impact of students who learn to use natural resources wisely and efficiently.

Download the policy here.