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Denver Recycles proudly provides more than 90,000 students in 170 Denver Public Schools with recycling service. More than 40 of these schools receive compost collection as well. Denver Recycles works extensively with DPS to educate students, staff and parents about the importance of waste reduction, reuse, recycling and composting. 

If you represent a DPS school and have questions about recycling, please email DenverRecycles@denvergov.org

 


More Information and Resources

Teacher Resources

Here are some ways you can lessen your impact on the environment and still have a fantastic school year:

  • Encourage families to buy items on your school supply list that are made from recycled content, such as notebooks, folders and writing paper. When shopping look for products made from with the highest percentage of recycled content as possible. By selecting products made of recycled content material you will help close the recycling loop and support residential recycling programs and their associated markets.
  • Reuse empty plastic tubs for storing pencils, paper clips or other small items needed on hand for school.
  • Recycle school papers such as old homework and tests in your Denver Recycles purple cart. Each ton of recycled paper can save 17 trees.
  • Pack lunches in reusable containers instead of disposable plastic bags or plastic wrap. If reusable containers are not an option, try wrapping sandwiches in aluminum foil, which you can recycle in your Denver Recycles purple cart.
  • Avoid buying single-serving, non-recyclable food items such as juice boxes, individual chip bags and cereal variety packs. You can also cut down on wasteful packaging and buying items in bulk.
  • Don’t waste paper! Write and print on both sides. Set your computer and printer to “double-sided” as the default option so documents automatically print double-sided. Printing double-sided handouts, reports and tests can dramatically reduce paper use, which saves nature AND saves money. Did you know that the average American uses 650 pounds of paper per year?
  • Collect scratch paper for reuse. Start saving one-sided print jobs and use these papers for scratch paper when doing math problems, taking notes or completing art projects.
  • Instead of buying bottled water for lunches and field trips, pour drinks in reusable, durable water bottles or thermoses.

An estimated 40% of food in the United States goes to waste, and you can see this play out daily in DPS lunchrooms. All too often sandwiches sent from home go untouched, salad bar choices barely get noticed, and prepackaged snacks are never even opened.  Instead, students simply toss these perfectly edible items in the trash (or compost) and head outside to recess. Students and their families can learn how and commit to reducing their food waste with the My Save the Food Pledge.

Follow these tips, and you’ll have a successful school cleanout:

  • Use school-wide announcements and flyers to inform everyone about the cleanout in advance.
  • Instruct all classroom teachers to announce the cleanout day and time to their students.
  • Properly label collection containers for recycling and trash and possibly reuse, if you plan to collect items to be donated or reused at the school.
  • Only donate items to outside organizations that are in good condition and are reusable.
  • Enlist parent volunteers or student leaders to act as sorting station captains during the cleanout and prepare them to answer recycling questions. 
  • Prioritize saving items like clothing and school supplies for reuse and recycle what you can. When in doubt about whether something can be recycled in your school’s purple carts, refer to the School Cleanout Recycling Directory or put it in the trash to ensure the “wrong things” don’t contaminate the recycling. 
  • Electronics, appliances, hazardous materials like batteries and fluorescent bulbs (CFLs and tubes), and books should not be placed in the trash dumpsters or your purple recycle carts.  Please contact DPS Sustainability Analyst, Eric Punkay (720-423-4171), to arrange to get these items specially collected and recycled.  You will see that for these hazardous items the word “NO” is written to remind you that under no circumstance should they go in the trash or the purple recycle carts.  

ITEM

DONATE/REUSE

RECYCLE IN PURPLE CART

SPECIAL RECYCLING COLLECTION

TRASH

Aluminum Cans & Foil

NO

YES – if empty and clean

NO

NO

Appliances – big and small

YES

NO

YES- contact Eric Punkay

NO

Aerosol Cans

NO

YES- if empty

NO

NO

Binders

YES

No - unless cardboard and metal is removed

NO

YES

Batteries

YES

NO

YES- contact Eric Punkay

NO

Books

YES

NO

YES- contact Eric Punkay

NO

Cardboard

NO

YES- break down and flatten boxes

NO

NO

Cartons- food & beverage

NO

YES – empty first

NO

NO

Clothing

YES

NO

YES – contact Eric Punkay

NO

Composition Notebook

YES

YES – remove binding

NO

NO

Construction Paper

YES

YES

NO

NO

Contact Paper

YES

NO

NO

YES

Crayons

YES

NO

NO

YES

Disinfectant Wipes/Hand Sanitizer

YES

YES – if empty and rigid plastic container #1-7

NO

YES – if a plastic bag dispenser

Electronics

YES

NO

YES -contact Eric Punkay

NO

Dry Erase Spray

YES

YES- empty and remove and trash plastic nozzle

NO

NO

Foam Board

YES

NO

NO

YES

Folder- paper

YES

YES

NO

NO

Folder- plastic

YES

NO

NO

YES

Furniture

YES

NO

YES- contact Eric Punkay

NO

Glue/Glue Sticks

YES

NO

NO

YES

Graph Paper

YES

YES

NO

NO

Index Cards

YES

YES

NO

NO

Laminated -anything

YES

NO

NO

YES

Light Bulbs- CFLs or tubes

NO

NO

YES- contact Eric Punkay

NO

Markers

YES

NO

NO

YES

Note Pad- flip

YES

YES

NO

NO

Note Pad – spiral

YES

YES- remove and trash metal or plastic spiral first

NO

NO – spiral only

Paper

YES

YES

NO

NO

Paper Binder Dividers

YES

YES- remove and trash plastic tabs and hole protectors first

NO

NO

Paper Cups

NO

YES – empty and remove and recycle paper holder, trash lid and straw first

NO

NO

Paper Towel Roll

YES

YES

NO

NO

Pencils – any

YES

NO

NO

YES

Pencil Pouch or Sharpener

YES

NO

NO

YES

Pens

YES

NO

NO

YES

Plastic Binder Dividers

YES

NO

NO

YES

Plastic Bottles & Containers

NO

YES- all empty rigid plastic bottles and containers   #1-7

NO

NO

Plastic Grocery Bags

YES

NO

YES- take to local grocery store

YES

Plastic Toys

YES

NO

NO

YES

Plastic Wrappers

NO

NO

NO

YES

Reusable Water Bottles & Food Containers

YES

NO

NO

NO

Rulers

YES

NO

NO

YES

Sandwich Bags

NO

NO

NO

YES

Scissors

YES

NO

NO

YES

Steel Cans

NO

YES – if empty

NO

NO

Tape – any

YES

NO

NO

YES