Support for School-Based Recycling

The CCC has been working with key partners to ensure that all cartons consumed in schools are collected and recycled.


Pilot Project to Support School Recycling in Ontario

The CCC has renewed its partnership with the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association in Manitoba and its successful Recycle Everywhere 101 program to pilot the program in Ontario schools. The program is meant to complement schools’ existing waste diversion programs by providing additional recycling infrastructure as necessary, and education on the importance of recycling within a school environment, with spin-off benefits for at home recycling as well.

Four schools in the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB) – St. Anne Catholic Elementary School in Richmond Hill, St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Elementary School in Woodbridge, St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School in Aurora and St. Agnes of Assisi catholic primary school in Vaughan – are participating in the pilot, which began in April 2017.

Waste Free Lunch Challenge Sponsorship

image04In 2012, CCC sponsored the Recycling Council of Ontario’s Waste Free Lunch Challenge. As a complimentary initiative, one of the Council’s members commissioned a study to better understand the quantities of cartons currently being consumed in Ontario schools, and how they are being handled. The main findings of the report are outlined below. RCO surveyed Waste Free Lunch Challenge participants and conducted detailed waste audits in eight (8) selected schools using a customized methodology. The vast majority of the 428 schools surveyed (98%) had recycling collection programs in place, of these 84% accepted juice boxes, the remainder (16%) did not. The waste audits were based on material generated over a 24-hr period and included all food and beverage containers.   The waste audits found that:

  • 67% of juice boxes were placed in the disposal stream; 33% were found in the recycling. Milk cartons seemed to perform better, with 61% in the recycling stream and 39% in the disposal stream.
  • Milk cartons and juice boxes make up a total of 7% by weight of the material found in the recycling and compost bins. By unit count, juice boxes represent the highest percentage of all beverage containers (31% of total beverage count), followed by milk cartons.
  • Juice cartons achieve high capture rate in the lunchroom (93% blue bin capture rate), but capture rate dropped to 25% in other locations such as classrooms.

Based on the study, students consume on average 42 small juice cartons over a year. Applied to the total number of students in Ontario (1,242,303), this is equivalent to 56 million juice boxes (568 tonnes) consumed annually in schools. The study concluded there is potential for significant improvement in juice box capture and recycling from Ontario schools.


Collaboration to Support School Recovery in Manitoba

Founded in 2010, the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association (CBCRA) is a not-for-profit, industry-funded organization whose membership includes beverage brand owners and distributors. CBCRA’s Recycle Everywhere is Canada’s first permanent, province-wide away from home beverage container recycling program, and includes a dedicated program component focused on getting schools recycling all their empty beverage containers.

In 2016, Carton Council Canada is providing support to CBCRA for growing their already successful Recycle Everywhere 101 program even further, including extending the reach of the program, educating more schoolchildren about recycling and increasing accessibility to beverage container recycling at all schools in Manitoba.

Concretely, the CCC’s funding support is being used to hire an additional staff member for an eight-month period to augment existing on-the-grounds resources (direct promotion and support to schools). As of February 2016, 70% of all the schools in the province (JK-12) were on on-board with the Recycle Everywhere 101 program. Through a combined effort of the existing team and the additional staff member, the goal is to reach 95% coverage by the end of the year.

Photo credit: CBCRA


From 2011 to 2013, the CCC also partnered with the Quebec-city based not-for-profit organization Quebec’ERE to deliver educational programs in Quebec schools. The project involved two main components:

  • An engagement programme, which included a two-hour presentation by Quebec’ERE staff and various student-led activities, such as a survey for parents and a family pledge to ensure that all cartons consumed at home are recycled. During the 2012/13 school year, 35 primary schools in the Montreal area went through this program. It is estimated that 8.5 tonnes of cartons are consumed on an annual basis by those 35 schools and that approximately 5.4 tonnes (63 %) of these are recovered. Following the program, a number of participating schools indicated interest to implement the necessary steps so that all cartons are recovered for recycling.
  • A one-on-one waste diversion support program, aiming to support schools in setting up or improving their school waste diversion program. Through this program key stakeholders and decision-makers in every school, as well as students are involved in order to implement a system that meets their needs. This includes the development of the school’s waste diversion plan and setting up the necessary recycling bin infrastructure. During the 2012/2013 school year, five waste diversion support programs were executed in the Quebec City area.

The project report (available in French only) is available here.

View the project video that has been produced:

The CCC is currently gathering the necessary information to develop a long-term strategy to leverage the receptivity of children to become waste diversion ambassadors and to boost carton recovery in schools throughout the country.