What is AACPS current recycling practice and does my school recycle?
AACPS currently practices single stream recycling. This means that all acceptable recycled items can go into one bin.
Yes, all schools at AACPS recycle. The refuse and recycling contractors provide large outdoor dumpsters to each school and the AACPS warehouse provides smaller bins for indoor use. The rate of recycling varies from school to school based off involvement of staff, students and the community.
How to determine what can be recycled?
When in doubt, throw it out. Dispose of questionable recyclable items in the trash to avoid contamination.
Keep in mind that anything can be recycled, but AACPS doesn’t always have the means to do so. For example, AACPS doesn’t recycle plastic bags, but a school can bring their plastic bags to a local grocery store to be recycled.
For questions, check out the supporting documents in the resources section or contact Environmental Health and Safety at 443-770-5950.
Where do I get recycling bins?
Recycle bins can be ordered from the AACPS warehouse. For ordering, speak with the school Chief or Facility Engineer.
What do the bin/dumpster colors mean?
Anne Arundel County residences have yellow recycle bins at home. The City of Annapolis uses blue recycle bins. For inside the schools, AACPS uses many different colors including blue, yellow and white. The trash bins are usually black, gray or brown. AACPS understands that this can be confusing. As a result, the AACPS warehouse is slowing cycling through the older bins and replacing them with a standardized color. Until then it is up to the school to determine which color bins are best for recycling.
The larger dumpsters located outside the schools also vary in color. Republic Services, Inc. refuse dumpsters are blue with black lids and recycle dumpsters are blue with light blue lids.
Why do I see a custodian throwing away recycled items from the recycling bin into the trash?
The recycle bin has been contaminated. Too much contamination causes the entire bin to become trash. This activity can happen at a larger scale with the dumpsters located outside the school. During a service, the truck drivers check for contamination and if there is too much, it will be serviced as trash and will be taken to the landfill. This practice discourages those who worked hard to recycle.
Why do I recycle certain items at home, but not at school?
Depending on the company, jurisdiction and where the recycled items are brought, specific items may not be accepted at AACPS compared to home. Please refer to this webpage to see what is acceptable at AACPS.
What are those green and yellow Abitibi Paper Retriever dumpsters at the school?
Formally known as Abitibi Paper, this company is now called Hanna Paper. They are located at 8840 Greenwood Place, Savage, MD 20763 and their phone number is 301-604-3302.These dumpsters are managed at the school for which they are located. Speak with the front office to find out who manages this program.
Who collects our refuse and recycling from the dumpsters?
AACPS currently uses Republic Services, Inc. (refuse dumpsters are blue with black lids and recycling dumpsters are blue with light blue lids).This company provides each school with at least one refuse and one recycling dumpster that is located outside each school. These dumpsters range from 2 cubic yards to 8 cubic yards in volume. The most common size is 6 cubic yards. Depending on the number of students, service days could be one to five times per week.
Where does the trash and recycling that AACPS generates go?
All trash waste goes to a local sorting facility where it then goes to one of many different landfills (PA, MD, VA) depending on their current capacity limits.
All recycled items go to a local recycling sorting center to be separated into different groups (cardboard, paper, glass, plastic, metals). Depending on current markets, recycled items are sold and shipped to different industries all over the world.
Does AACPS compost?
No. AACPS does not have a school system wide composting program. Some schools compost food waste for gardening or community use.
What is contamination?
Contamination occurs when items that are meant to be disposed of in the trash are put in the recycling bin. A common example of this is when liquids from school lunches saturate recycled cardboard. When cardboard gets wet, it loses its structural integrity and can no longer be recycled.
Common sources of contamination at AACPS include food waste, plastics bags, film plastics, potato chip and Ziploc bags, plastic straws, tissues, napkins and paper towels. Be sure to clean out food containers and to empty all liquids out of bottles or cans prior to recycling them.
Can the lunch trays be recycled?
Yes, but the lunch trays must be clean and dry. If it has food waste on it, it must be disposed of in the trash.
Can all plastics be recycled?
No. Some plastics can jam the trucks or the machinery at a recycling facility. Examples include plastic straws, utensils, wraps, plastic bags and film plastics.
What are bulk items?
Bulk items are large items that can damage the trucks when serviced. Examples include large pieces of wood or PVC pipe, playground materials, furniture like chairs, tables or filing cabinets. Please keep these out of the dumpsters and speak with the school Chief or Facility Engineer about removing these items.
Can I recycle wood at AACPS?
No, not at AACPS. Small (non-bulk) wood items must be disposed of in the trash.
Can printer ink cartridges be recycled?
Yes, but the ink cartridges must be mailed. Inside the ink cartridge box is a prepaid shipping label. Reuse the box to mail out the old ink cartridge. Speak with the front office about mailing the old ink cartridges.
Where do I dispose my batteries?
Standard alkaline batteries (AA, AAA, C or D) can be disposed of in the trash. All lithium ion batteries (rechargeable) will need to be picked up by an Environmental, Health and Safety team member for proper disposal. Speak with the school Chief or Facility Engineer about removing these items.
EHS Administrative Technician