School Recycling

What Is Feed the Bin?

Feed the Bin is a recycling collection program funded by Wake County Solid Waste Management Division since 2004. The Division provides free, weekly pickup to Wake County Public School System sites and select charter schools within Wake County. Volunteer coordinators work with students, staff and faculty to organize collection within their school. Environmental educators from the Solid Waste Division provide signage and promotional items to reinforce recycling, and lead educational presentations and field trips to enhance students' understanding of waste prevention, recycling and composting.  

Waste Characterization Studies

Have you ever wonderered what is being thrown away at schools? Wake County explores this question by funding waste characterization studies, detailed audits of garbage dumpster contents. The most recent study was conducted from January 30 through February 3, 2023, in collaboration with Wake County Public School System and Green for Life Environmental. 

The 2023 study found that the percentage of recyclable paper being landfilled has decreased from similar studies conducted in 2008 and 2014. The percentage of milk cartons and juice boxes being thrown away has also decreased significantly. Almost half of the waste analyzed in 2023 could have been composted, including food scraps and paper towels.

Download the full report to learn additional recommendations for improving waste diversion initiatives in schools. Access the 2008 and 2014 school waste studies in our Studies and Reports collection

Recycling Data

Sonoco Recycling collected 640 tons of paper, metal cans and plastic bottles from 203 schools since between July 13, 2022 and June 30, 2023. Together those recyclable materials weigh approximately as much as 35 school buses! The Wake County Solid Waste Management Division appreciates all the students, teachers, custodians, cafeteria employees and administrators who made recycling collection possible during the 2022-2023 school year. 

Presentations and Field Trips

The Wake County Solid Waste Management Division offers free presentations to educate K-12 students about composting, landfills, recycling, and solid waste prevention. Email the school recycling coordinator at to book a presentation for the 2023-2024 school year!

Virtual Tour of Recycling Sorting Center

Virtual Recycling Center Tour
Virtual Tour of Sonoco Recycling
Watch this video of what happens to mixed recycling

See how materials collected from Feed the Bin schools are sorted at Sonoco Recycling. Schools may also request in-person tours of Sonoco Recycling's material recovery facility in Raleigh. Tours must be scheduled at least two weeks in advance, and are not available on evenings or weekends. Email to request a tour. 

Contact Us

Want to start or improve a recycling program at your school? Call 919-856-2602 or email