Prevent the single biggest waste day at your school!
Cleaning out a desk or locker is a great mid-year or end-of-the-school year activity. It is easy to do, requires little preparation, is highly visible and saves good items from being thrown into the garbage. It promotes reduce, reuse, recycle and respect.
What to Do in Advance:
- Have multiple organizations, groups and clubs commit to the project (number of volunteers depends on the size of the school).
- Project leaders need to discuss the process with administration:
- Site to be used for collected items – a low traffic flow area works best
- Hall pass for student volunteers so they can come and go as they have free time
- Notify public relations person at school about this event
- Arrange for several teachers to sponsor collection
- Equipment needed for the collection event includes plastic liners (shower curtains work well), gloves for volunteers, a scale and a camera to record the success.
- Discuss event with the custodial staff. Review systematic plan of collection and clean-up of collection location.
- If money is available, order pizza and pop for all of the volunteers. Consider ordering enough for the custodians and teacher sponsors.
- Explain the project in the faculty newsletter or bulletin so that staff understands the purpose of the collection event, why the students are leaving their study, how they can help, etc.
- Plan to have a storage area for all of the items collected to be used later, paper and other items to be recycled, and items that will be donated.
The Day of the Clean-Out:
- After morning attendance and student announcements, students are released to report to their lockers. Each teacher is assigned a certain area of lockers to monitor and to check. Lockers should be rid of loose paper, unused notebooks, library books and food/beverage items. Students are to throw all unwanted items into a large trash bag that each teacher is carrying. At the end of the clean-out, teachers and custodians are to take the bags to the area chosen for the main collection. Just think, without these efforts, everything would end up in the garbage dumpster! For students in lower grades, teachers can schedule a period of time where desks/lockers are cleaned out in a similar process.
- In the main collection area, place plastic liners on the floor. Have a spot for paper and notebooks to be used again and a spot for paper to be recycled. In another spot, sort art supplies, pens, pencils, protractors, books, clothing items (to be washed and given to a charity) and aluminum, glass and plastic. Create an area for as many categories as needed.
- Be sure to count the number of trash bags brought to the collection area before opening. Optional – weigh the bags as well.
- Once categories are established, assign two or three volunteers to a trash bag. Empty the contents onto the floor and begin separating the items. Wear gloves and be careful for any broken glass or sharp objects.
- Make sure volunteers wash their hands before eating and after they are done working.
Download the Locker Clean-Out.