12 School Displays that Teach What's Recyclable

Inspire your school community to recycle right! These anchor charts, posters, bulletin boards and displays are great ideas to get you started.

Author: Recycle Rally

Recycle Rally

Did you know that depending on where you live, what you are supposed to put in your recycling bin can differ greatly from those who live in other areas of the country (or even your state)? We understand that recycling can be confusing, and it’s more important than ever to get it right. With the arrival of single-stream recycling, participation in recycling has increased but so has recycling contamination. Contamination happens when non-recyclable items such as organic matter, batteries, or plastic bags make their way into the recycling stream. It can cause major problems for the recycling industry.


According to an article by Waste Management, the average contamination rate among communities and businesses sits at around 25%. That means that roughly 1 in 4 items placed in a recycling container is actually not recyclable through curbside programs! This reduces the likelihood that your recyclables will be recycled and downgrades the quality of the recyclables. If you’re looking for a video to share this concept with young students, our video The Right Bin Matters may help! If we all work together to know and teach what to recycle in our communities, then we can tackle the problem of recycling contamination and keep our recycling stream clean.


Recycle Rally schools are doing a fantastic job of showing their communities what they can and cannot recycle at school. Here are 12 school recycling displays – both simple and complex – from our participants!



1. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

This anchor chart by Harmony School of Excellence in San Antonio was created as a visual guideline to support 1st Grade lessons on recycling. We love how they sorted the recyclables and compost!


recycle reduce reuse simple recycling poster



2. Know the Place for Your Waste

This poster by South Iredell High School in North Carolina says it all! Created by the recycling club, the simple “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of recycling does the job quite well.


know the place for your waste simple poster school recycling displays



3. A Simple Chart

The second grade class at White Elementary School in Wichita learned about what can and cannot be recycled with this simple anchor chart. After finding items with food waste on them in the class’s recycling bin, our Recycle Rally leader taught the importance of cleaning recyclables when possible so waste stays out of the recycling bin.


what is recycling anchor chart


4. Items Speak Louder Than Words

Seeing the items they throw away on a daily basis can be a powerful tool for students to understand what they can keep out of the trash bin. Our Rally leader at Wynne Primary School in Arkansas teaches recycling to K-2 students, and due to the young age of the students she noticed that tangible items and pictures speak louder than words.


recyclable items poster school recycling displays


5. Recycling Resource Center

We’re totally impressed by this recycling center and resource station by Bridlemile Elementary School in Portland! Not only do they clearly show what not to recycle with the sign, “NO BELOW,” they offer their entire community the opportunity to recycle typically non-recyclable materials such as batteries, dried-up pens and markers, plastic bags, and more. Way to go!


recycling center and resource station green bulletin board with recycling bins



6. Informative Display Case

This amazing display case from Concord Elementary School in Ohio shows not only what and what not to recycle at school, but also shows the impact of recycling! We love how they used recycling facts to make this display super informative. We have a whole list of facts you can use for your own display board here!


glass display case what can you recycle



7. A Display to Make You Think

The 3rd Grade Green Team at Coolidge Elementary in Michigan wanted to teach staff and students more about recycling, composting, and zero waste. We love the tagline “Rethink Your Trash” because it reminds us that the simple act of pausing and thinking before throwing away your waste can make a big difference!


rethink your trash bulletin board school recycling display



8. A Simple Display

The EcoEagles Green Team at Eisenhower Elementary School in Boulder created this sweet and simple board showing what to recycle (and compost!) at school and where.


recycling sorting bulletin board display



9. Stop, Wait, Go!

We love how this bulletin board from Longfellow Elementary School in Houston uses a reference to traffic signals! The EcoTeam noticed contamination in their recycling bins at school and wanted to send a clear message to students and staff about what is ready to recycle, what needs cleaning first, and what is a no-way item in their bins.


Large green bulletin board with traffic signals recycling



10. A Simple Question

Is it Recyclable? Paired with a recycling bin, this bulletin board by Reilly School in Chicago gets straight to the point! Since the school has a high English language learner population, the Green Team used visual cues to make this bulletin board easy to comprehend.


Recycling bulletin board school recycling displays



11. Make it Fun!

Lincoln Prairie Elementary School in Illinois won a prize in our 2020 Design Bins, Doors, or Bulletin Boards contest with this impressive bulletin board-recycling bin combo. Since the students love sports, they decided to create field goal and basketball net recycling bins to excite their friends! Not only is this creation super playful, but it clearly informs the school community about what they can and can’t put, or “score” into the recycling bins.


large green bulletin board with recycling games school recycling display



12. Right on the Bin

And lastly, how about listing what’s recyclable directly on the bin itself? This bin, sweetly named “Recycle-a-Saurus” by students at Gaithersburg High School in Maryland, shows students what they can recycle by displaying basic materials they use or products they consume at school. It also features local recycling guidelines – a great addition for all kinds of displays! All you have to do is look at your local town, city, or waste hauler’s website to see what resources they may be able to offer you.


blue recycling bin with signs school recycling display


We hope you use these wonderful ideas from our Recycle Rally schools!

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