Cafeteria Best Practices

Recycling Champions has resources and tools to set up or improve your elementary and secondary school cafeteria recycling program. For both Organics Collection and non-Organics Collection schools, our Set-Up Guides, Presentations, Signage, Videos, and staff, faculty, and student handouts help make sorting easier and recycling areas more efficient. 

Organics Collection schools are separating food scraps and food-soiled paper in addition to regular recycling. All Manhattan and Staten Island NYC DOE schools are currently enrolled, along with schools in Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens. To find out if your school is enrolled, please visit the NYC DOE Office of Sustainability website. Non-Organics Collection schools will recycle metal, glass, plastic, and cartons in the cafeteria. Visit the NYC Department of Sanitation’s website to learn more. 


> Setup Guide - Organics Collection (PDF)
> Carton Recycling for Schools (PDF)
> Benefits of Cafeteria Recycling (PDF)
> Faculty & Parents Handout (PDF)
> Faculty & Staff Letter (Non-Organics) (DOC)
> Custodians & SchoolFood Handout (PDF)
> Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
> Letter to Principals From DSNY Commisioner and DOE Chancellor (PDF) 


> Primary Cafeteria Recycling Presentation for Organics Schools (PPT) (PDF)
Secondary Cafeteria Recycling Presentation for Organics Schools (PPT) (PDF)


> Handout with Game (PDF)
> Cafeteria Monitors Guide (PDF)
> Cafeteria Monitor Application (Word)
> Cafeteria Monitor Badges (Word)
> Cafeteria Annoucements (PDF)
> Participation Contest (PDF)
> I-Dot Student Survey Activity (PDF)
> Upcycled Milk Carton Craft (PDF)

> Middle School Student Handout (PDF)
> High School Student Handout (PDF)
> Cafeteria Monitors Guide (PDF)
Cafeteria Presort Guide (PDF)
> Middle School Annoucements (PDF) 
> Participation Contest (PDF)
> I-Dot Student Survey Activity (PDF)
> Advocacy Action Kit (PDF)


> Free Recycling Resources from the NYC Department of Sanitation
> Instructions: Posting Signs to Bins (PDF)

> P.S. 316 Organics Collection Instructional
> Step it Up! Organics Collection Rap
> Complete List of Videos


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