School Recycling Made Easy
Recycling at school is easy with the support provided by the County of Santa Barbara.
If your school is located in the unincorporated area of the County, help is available with recycling bins, education materials, waste services, and more!
Since school waste is up to 80% recyclable, schools make a huge impact when they recycle. Recycling is also cheaper than trash disposal, so it helps save the environment AND your budget! Now you have every reason to recycle at school.
Also check out our new Teacher Resources page! It's full of info and activities for our wonderful local teachers.
What assistance is available for schools in the unincorporated area?
At no cost to you (it's free!), our County staff can help update your school's recycling program. From the infrastructure to the administration to educating the students, we'll guide you along, step by step. Other ways in which we can help include:
- Supplying recycling containers and outreach materials to classrooms, labs, and offices
- Performing waste audits
- Determining your waste costs and identifing potential savings
- Creating a school or district recycling plan
- Educating faculty, staff, and administration about the benefits of recycling
- Meeting with PTA and School Board Members
- Providing curriculum-fulfilling education for students through Explore Ecology and the Environmental Education Box
- Following up to make sure the program is working
- Answering your questions
What if my school is located in a city?
Sometimes it's confusing to figure out if your school is in the unincorporated part of the county or within a city's jurisdiction. Don't worry, just email us or call (805) 882-3618 to clear things up. Some local cities, such as the City of Santa Barbara and the City of Lompoc, also provide school recycling programs. Click here for a listing of the City Recycling Contacts.
A waste audit identifies strategies to reduce your waste, increase recycling, and save money. County staff can examine what types of materials are being thrown away and identify those that can be recycled. A full audit requires a campus tour and dumpster dive, but a quick version can be done with your waste collection records. Input from custodial and kitchen staff is also helpful.
A school's waste disposal costs are determined by how many containers it has and how frequently the containers are collected. Often these costs are paid by the school district and never seen by the school itself. Our County staff can contact your waste hauler and identify these costs for you. You can also access your community's trash rates by visiting the Resource Recovery & Waste Management Division website.
In the County's unincorporated area, recycling is on average 36% cheaper than trash collection. Local cities also offer pricing incentives to encourage recycling.
The plan includes a description of all the actions the County and each individual school or district will perform to achieve a successful recycling program. These actions can include changing the waste collection infrastructure, rearranging the placement of recycling containers, education efforts, and tackling problem waste streams. The plan is tailored to each school's needs and is based upon the types of waste generated.
For many years, the County has partnered with the local non-profit agency, Explore Ecology, to provide hands-on education about the benefits of waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and composting. Explore Ecology offers in-class lessons and field trips, all of which are tailored to meet California's academic curriculum standards. It also operates a great reuse store, Art from Scrap, located in downtown Santa Barbara.
In the North County, Waste Management offers a mobile "Environmental Education Box" that travels to individual school sites. The traveling trailer is filled with information and activities related to recycling. Students particularly enjoy participating in the beverage can recycling drives to help earn money for their schools.
Both programs are free! Contact Explore Ecology at (805) 884-0459 or Waste Management at (805) 922-2121 to schedule a presentation.
Do you offer tours of the Tajiguas Landfill?
Yes, tours of the Tajiguas Landfill are offered year-round for free. For more information, please click here.
We also provide tours of the South Coast Recycling and Transfer Station. Click here for details.
Not having a place to discard your recyclables can sure hinder a program's success. Take a look at our container page for more information about our indoor containers. A very limited supply of outdoor containers is also available for schools with a demonstrated need.
To help students understand what can and can't be recycled, the County offers posters, stickers, and magnets that identify what goes in the blue recycling containers. We also have numerous booklets and brochures about our individual programs. Take a look at what's available on our Recycling Outreach page.
What about recycling organic material?
Don't forget about organics! County staff would be happy to help your school develop a composting program. Read about the benefits of composting in our Composting ABC's booklet and contact us if you're interested in implementing a program at your school.
Help us spread the word!
Feel free to download our one-page School Recycling Assistance flyer to pass along to your friends in the school community.
Where to go
Outside Santa Barbara County (1)
- United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Resource Conservation & Recovery — 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
- Art and Craft Supplies Reuse
- Audio-Visual Equipment Recycling
- Book Reuse
- Cardboard Recycling
- Computers & Peripherals Recycling
- Electronics Reuse
- Government Contacts
- Junk Mail Recycling
- Laptop Computers Recycling
- Metal Cans Recycling
- Mulch Program
- Musical Instruments Reuse
- Office Equipment Recycling
- Paper Recycling
- Paperback Books Recycling
- Plastics #1 and #2 Recycling
- Plastics #3 - #7 Recycling (no Styrofoam)
- Recycle at School
- Recycling Containers
- School Supplies Reuse
- Small Appliances Recycling
- Sporting Goods Reuse
- Teacher Resources
- Why Recycle?
- Yard Waste Recycling
November 09, 2015 by Leslie Robinson - Recycle
May 31, 2015 by Sam Dickinson - Recycle
January 28, 2015 by Sam Dickinson - Electronics
October 03, 2013 by Leslie Robinson - Recycle
September 13, 2012 by Leslie Robinson - Trash
October 06, 2011 by Jeff Simeon - Policies
June 13, 2011 by Jeff Simeon - Electronics
April 09, 2011 by Jeff Simeon - Recycle