Mojave Desert & Mountan Recycling Authority

Recycling at School

Helping the next generation take action to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Why Your School Should Recycle

Recycling helps the environment


When you recycle you conserve valuable natural resources. Using recycled materials to make new products saves energy and reduces the amount of air and water emissions produced during the manufacture of new products.

Recycling keeps the environment beautiful


We live in a unique and delicate ecosystem that is continuously threatened by humans. Returning high-quality recycling to redemption centers reduces litter in public places and helps keep our environment healthy and beautiful.


Getting children excited by — and participating in — recycling is vital to California’s (and our planet’s) future. Encouraging best practices now ensures that the next generation will be thoughtful stewards of our natural resources.


Californian’s throw away about 5 pounds of trash per day. Proper recycling keeps valuable material out of the garbage stream and lowers the amount of waste sent to landfills. We all benefit from that!


For most California schools recycling and organics recycling isn’t just good practice, it’s the law. Learn more here.

School Recycling

How to Start a School Recycling Program

Every school should consider setting up a recycling program to cut down on waste and the overhead of disposal.

Setting up recycling is a simple matter of organization and commitment and you can always reach out to your hauler’s recycling coordinator for resources to help you develop a successful program.

Take the initiative and get a program started in your school today by following these five simple steps. 

What Your School Should Recycle

Below is a list of general items that can be recycled in most recycling programs.

It’s important to follow your town or county’s recycling rules, so be sure to check with your hauler to make sure your school is recycling right.

Paper and Cardboard Recycling at Work


  • White and colored office paper
  • Photocopy paper
  • Computer paper
  • Junk mail/Catalogs
  • Phone books
  • Newspapers/Magazines
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • All other clean, dry paper
Paper and Cardboard Recycling Tips
  • Clean, dry, and free of food waste
  • Flatten boxes
  • Remove liners from cereal/food boxes
  • Plastic window envelopes and staples are okay
  • No spirals from notebooks


  • Rigid containers (#1, #2, #5) 
  • PET (#1) plastic bottles
  • HDPE (#2) plastic bottles
Recycle Plastic Containers
Plastic Bottles & Container Recycling Tips
  • Clean, dry, and free of food waste
  • No Styrofoam™
  • No plastic bags or plastic wrap of any kind
  • Lids are okay to leave on
Recycle Metal Cans and Trays


  • Tin cans
  • Aluminum cans and foil
Metal Cans & Trays Recycling Tips
  • Clean, dry, and free of food waste
  • Aerosol cans must be empty of pressure and product


  • Any color, size or shape
Recycle Glass Containers
Glass Bottles & Jars Recycling Tips
  • Clean, dry, and free of food waste
  • Remove lids

School Waste Reduction

Whether you are a school district administrator concerned about increases in solid waste disposal costs, a recycling-conscious teacher or student, or a city/county recycling coordinator working with your local school district, setting up or improving an existing school waste reduction program can benefit everyone involved. Additionally, in most cases, school recycling is a state requirement for traditional recyclables as well as for organic wastes.

How Recycling Works

Recycling is circular. A material is manufactured into a product which goes to a store, where you buy it. You use the product — and hopefully reuse it — then put it in your recycling cart. From there it is collected and taking to a processing plant where it turned back into base materials which a manufacturer uses to create something new. And the cycle starts again.

How Recycling Works

Where Does Our Recycling Go?

The MRF is an intermediate processing center— sorting mixed recyclables into separate categories: newspaper, cardboard, other mixed papers, glass, steel cans, aluminum cans, PET plastics, HDPE plastics, and more. Once the recyclables are sorted (and compacted into bales), they are then ready to be shipped to businesses to be made into new products.

Most communities in the High Desert and Mountain area are served by the Victor Valley Materials Recovery Facility (MRF)

The MRF is the “middleman” between residents who separate recyclables, and the industries which use recyclable materials to make new products.

The MRF is owned by the Town of Apple Valley and City of Victorville; administered by the Mojave Desert and Mountain Recycling Authority; and operated by Burrtec Waste Industries.

Get the Victory Valley MRF Guide

This guide introduces you to the MRF and how recycling materials are processed at the facility.

Take a Virtual Tour of the Victor Valley MRF


Curiosity Quest Visits the Victor Valley MRF

Watch as Joel Greene of Curiosity Quest provides a family-friendly tour of the Victor Valley MRF.

Recycling Laws

Recycling At School Is Great. It’s Also The Law.

Most schools are required by California law to participate in both recycling and organic recycling (composting).

Recycling Resources for Teachers

Recycling Activities & Lesson Plans

California Education and the Environment Initiative (California EEI) Curriculum

The California Education and the Environment Initiative (California EEI) Curriculum teaches science and history-social science, using the environment as a context for learning. This engaging curriculum is designed to increase environmental literacy, and help students become critical thinkers, informed decision makers, and leaders for the future. The EEI Curriculum is available to California educators in print and online at no cost.

Source: California EEI

Free Recycling Lesson Plans

Fun recycling lesson plans teach about the importance of stewardship and conservation and connect to standards in science, math, and reading for grades 1–8. They use the popular 5E lesson plan model, so you know they’re hands on and easy to adapt for your classroom!


PBS Multi-Media Lesson Plans

Try these media-rich lessons that explore the topics that connect technological, biological, and scientific fields. Lessons on topics such as recycling and waste management include multi-media presentations and worksheets for all ages.

Source: PBS LearningMedia

Pack A Waste-Free Lunch

This Waste-Free Lunch activity helps students learn how to reduce, reuse, and recycle items in their school lunches. They provide activity instructions and printable materials — everything you need to get your class participating in a waste-free lunch day. Grades 1-8.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Resources for Teachers

The Mojave Environmental Education Consortium (MEEC) aims to improve the environmental literacy of students, teachers, and communities of the Mojave Desert Region by actively providing educational resources including transportation and mini-grants, and environmental library, curriculum and scholarship information, a speakers’ bureau, and teacher links focused on the High Desert environment.

The City of Victorville Environmental Programs Division can help you set up a school recycling program and offers free tours and in-class presentations. Call their Recycling Hotline at (760) 955-8615 for help with your recycling.

Learn more at the website.

Closing the Loop is CalRecycle’s interdisciplinary standardized K-6 curriculum emphasizing waste prevention, recycling, composting, and vermicomposting through hands-on activities.

CalRecycle also maintains an instructional materials page and more educational resources and information.

The also offer waste reduction strategies for each department within a School District.

The California Environmental Protection Agency’s Education and the Environmental Initiative (EEI) is a K-12th grade curriculum comprised of 85 units teaching select Science and History-Social Science academic standards. Each EEI Curriculum unit teaches these standards to mastery using a unique set of California environmental principles and concepts.

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency lists environmental education resources that can be ordered online, by telephone, or downloaded.

The US EPA’s waste education materials includes basic facts, materials and information about  composting and recycling, curriculum, activities, awards, and grants.

Be sure to check out their resources for students and educators on reducing, reusing, and recycling.

The CREEC Network, a program of the California Department of Education, fosters regional partnerships throughout the state of California to promote environmental education and environmental literacy by providing teachers with access to high quality professional learning opportunities and education resources.

Make a Suggestion

Are you looking for resources to help teach recycling and environmental responsibility to your students? Help us build this page by suggesting ideas, online resources, and programs you know of in our area.

How to Compost at School

School gardens provide an excellent opportunity for teachers to extend these lessons outside of the classroom to reinforce concepts about nutrient cycles, food production, decomposition, water conservation and more.

Composting is an effective and efficient way to dramatically reduce your school’s waste stream , while doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint. Organic material sent to landfill creates methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to the negative impacts of our changing climate. By making compost, you are creating a valuable soil amendment that you can use to benefit your landscape, boost plant growth and sequester carbon.

Both new and established gardens benefit from the use of compost and mulch. Many schools purchase compost when they initially establish their garden, then they start making their own compost. You can use grass clippings, yard trimmings, rotten vegetables, and in some cases even food scraps from the cafeteria and/or students’ lunches. While some schools choose to make compost piles in the garden, others compost with worm boxes right in the classroom!

School Composting Resources

California School Garden Network

A wealth of information on how to start a school garden, linking school gardens to California Education Standards, funding, and so much more, is available from the California School Garden Network.

Composting Council Research & Education Foundation

On this page you’ll find links to numerous educational resources on composting supporting the Composting Council’s International Compost Awareness Week which occurs during the first week of May each year.

Make Money for Your School by Recycling

California Refund Value (CRV)

Recycle eligible beverage containers and make money for your school.

Every time you purchase an eligible beverage container from a retailer in California, you pay a nickel or dime deposit on that container. The California Redemption Value, or CRV, is the deposit return system that allows you to return those empty bottles and cans to a recycling location to get back the deposit you paid.

Collecting your school’s beverage containers and returning them to a redemption center is a great way for kids to learn about the value of recycling and make money for your school.

What type of beverage containers can you return for a refund?

CRV containers

Glass, aluminum, bimetal and plastic containers including: 

  • Beer and Malt Beverages
  • Wine Coolers
  • Carbonated Fruit Drinks, Water, or Soft Drinks
  • Noncarbonated Fruit Drinks, Water, or Soft Drinks
  • Coffee and Tea Beverages
  • 100% Fruit Juice less than 46 oz.
  • Vegetable Juice 16 oz. or less

TIP:  To get the full refund value for your containers, they must be sorted and clean of contaminants. Make sure the containers are dry and clear of any food debris prior to returning them for CRV.

How much money can my school make?

If you have less than 50 containers of one type, your refund will be a nickel or dime (depending on size) for each container. If you bring more than 50 containers of a particular type, your containers are weighed and converted for refund value.

Think about how many beverage containers your school goes through in a day? It could add up to a lot!

CRV for bottles and cans less than 24oz is 5 cents

CRV value 10 cents

CRV determined by weight

How many containers can we redeem at one time?

You may bring up to 100 pounds of aluminum and plastic or 1,000 pounds of glass on a single visit to a Recycling Center.

Find a Recycling Center

To find a certified Recycling Center near you, use the searchable Beverage Container Recycling Centers database from CalRecycle below. You can also visit the CalRecycle website to find it.

Contact Your Local Recycling Coordinator

Your hauler’s recycling coordinator may be able to assist you in the creation of a CRV program at your school. Give them a call!

Recycling Activities for Kids

Recycling Activities & Games for Kids

Recycling Tool Kit

We’ve put together this fun tool kit for kids to participate in fun and educational recycling activities. Try the word search game or making your own recycling box to help your family sort materials.

Source: Mojave Desert & Mountain Recycling Authority (that’s us!)

Recycle City

Explore Recycle City to see how the people of the town reduce waste, use less energy, and even save money by doing simple things at home, at work, and in their neighborhoods.

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Recycle Rex

Meet Recycle Rex, spokesdinosaur for CalRecycle (Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery). Recycle Rex wants you to “Recycle, reduce, reuse, and close the loop.” Recycling is one of the easiest and best things we can do for planet Earth. Visit the website for activities, brochures and program ideas for kids.

Source: CalRecycle

Recycle Roundup

Help clean up the park! Try this game where your job is to sort the stuff people throw away and put it in the proper bin. Is it recycling, compost, or trash?

Source: National Geographic Kids

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