Recycling Bins Can Be Cute {Downsize Your Classroom, Get More Space, Recycling in the Classroom}

{Click to Access and Download: Recycling Bin Labels}

It's not easy being green.

Well, at least that is what Kermit the Frog claims. And, as a teacher, I am in agreement.

Classroom real estate is always at a premium and finding a home for a big, huge, bulky recycling bin can be a challenge. It's size often makes it too big to fit on a shelf and yet, short enough that it isn't always seen and can be tripped over if not tucked away.

And the color? Blah!

Admittedly, I get a bit nutty when it comes to making everything match my classroom color scheme, but the reality is that swamp green (the world's most common recycling bin color) doesn't match much.

When consulting with clients about organizing and managing their classrooms, I encourage them to start by purging anything unnecessary. I then tell them to look around with a creative eye and try to find think outside the box about the things that are necessary. Often times this involves finding multipurpose items (using the front of a teacher desk or heater as a magnetic board, selecting seats that serve as storage containers, etc). Other times it involves simply downsizing.

And that is what I did with my recycling bin.

Oh, and I made it much more adorable in the process.

Purchase 2 wastebaskets. The ones I used are 16 qt and cost $2.99 each. I specifically selected baskets that would fit onto a shelf in my classroom so they wouldn't take up floor space. I find the 16 qt size were big enough to hold quite a bit, but not intrusive. I encourage the kids to take paper from the bin for drawing, indoor recess games and as scrap paper during Math Workshop. When they get too full a student brings them to the large school-wide barrels in and transfers the contents.

Print out the labels and secure them in place with a thin coat of Modge Podge. The label shown has the blue chevron border. The packet also includes a set of labels with only the inner black border. You can mount these onto scrapbook paper to match your color scheme or classroom theme.

Apply Modge Podge on top of the label in several thin coats to adhere it. If you use an inkjet printer you’ll want to take precautions to keep the ink from running. Some ideas include freezing the paper overnight or a layer of hairspray.  Alternatively, you could use clear packing tape to adhere it to the container as well. 
{Click to Access and Download: Recycling Bin Labels}
I created a packet that includes the labels with a blue chevron border shown in the picture above. It also includes a set of labels with a simple black border around them that you can mount onto scrapbook paper to match your classroom theme or color scheme.

For more tips and ideas on organizing and managing your classroom please check out my Clutter-Free Guide along with my Teaching Procedures and Routines Workbook. This post is part of:

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Click here for a listing of all of the Teacher Tips and Printables from The Summer of 2013.

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