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Fundraising with Recycling – and helping the planet at the same time

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Our Parents Association has been involved in recycling as a method to raise funds for a while now but have recently expanded what we collect quite dramatically. It is proving to be a steady way to bring in funds for us and if you can find a parent to coordinate then it can hopefully provide a good income for you.

I’ve listed below all the schemes I’ve come across and then described what we do and how it works for us. Hopefully you can then pick and chose what fits with your school.

There are a few businesses that will collect clothing and pay you a price per kg. You can either have a permanent collection box on your school grounds or arrange a date when items can be dropped off and collected on the same day. A few companies offering this service are:

Roberts Recycling Ltd
Happy School Bags 

Printer Cartridges
This can be a good money earner if you have parents who run their own businesses and produce printer cartridge waste. Also building links with other local businesses can help increase donations.

Recycle 4 charity
Empties Please


Mobile Phones
There isn’t currently a charity specific mobile phone recycling scheme but you can still make good money from phones if you can rope in a volunteer to do the admin work of searching the sites below for the best prices for individual phones and then paying that money back to the school. take phones as part of their wider collections


Similar to the mobile phones, aside from Recycling For Good Causes there isn’t a company that specifically takes old jewellery for charity donations. takes jewellery as part of their wider collections

Postage Stamps

Stamps seem to be primarily collected by large national charities which gives an indication of how many you would need to collect to make it worthwhile. However the 2 links below will take from smaller charities. based in Edinburgh take stamps as part of their wider collections

Many people have foreign coins lying around their homes left over from past holidays, destined never to be used again. A collection once a year might help clear people’s stocks and earn a few pennies.

I can’t comment of the return rate for the below but it’s got to be better than them gathering dust in the back of someone’s cupboard! take stamps as part of their wider collections

As far as I can tell there isn’t money to be made from collecting batteries but the offer monthly prizes for collecting stories submitted by collectors.

Milk Bottle Tops
Not a scheme we run personally but I believe there is money to be made from collecting plastic Milk Bottle lids. It does seem that a lot are required to raise funds though so I would recommend researching before getting involved and suddenly realising you need to store a million lids in your garage!

Plastics through Terracycle

Terracycle is a company that have been operating for a few years but have recently become more prominent following high profile links with major brands such as Walkers & Hovis. They aim to repurpose the waste they collect into other items – plant pots/benches/playground equipment.

You can sign up to many of their collection schemes as a personal collector or you can set up a public collection point and other schemes are then available to you.

Once you have more that a certain weight of items (generally over 2kg) you can apply for a postage label and UPS will come and collect your waste. You then earn points which can be converted every 6 months into funds for your chosen charity.

Browse the site to see what schemes are currently open

What we do at our school

At our school we run a few of the above schemes as detailed below. I personally have always been a bit on the eco-warrior side of waste disposal & recycling so my fairly full-on approach may not be for all! (See the photo of my garage as evidence!)

recycling for PTA


For a few years now we have used BagSchool. We have a parent who arranges a date with the company and on that day parents leave their donations at a designated spot by 9am (ours is at the nearby village hall car park due to logistics at school and we generally schedule it for the day after the local WI jumble sale to maximise donations!). The van then comes and collects the clothes and a week or so later we receive a cheque in the post. The current rate is 40p per kg which isn’t the highest we could earn but we are happy with the service we receive.

Last year our collection was delayed by us and so I stored clothes in my garage for a few months and ran a £1 2ndhand clothing sale. This raised almost £400 but was hard work so definitely not for the faint hearted – unfortunately now my garage is full of other recycling I won’t be able to do this again.

We tend to raise around £500 a year through Bag2School.


Everything else

For everything other than clothes that we collect we have a collection box at school and I have also arranged for other boxes to be set up at my workplace and at various local shops.

We (myself/my kids) pick up the items from school most days - otherwise the box tends to overflow (kids eat a lot of crisps!). The boxes I have set up at my work place also get checked regularly. When traveling to my kid’s clubs etc I also check the local bins I’ve set up in shops and at the village hall. I do also have some lovely parents who will check boxes for me if they are passing – I am keen not to frustrate the shop owners by leaving overflowing bins. In addition I do a weekly pickup of bread bags from a local farm who feed their pigs a lot of sliced bread – this is my children’s favourite as they get to visit the animals too!

Most weekends I then rope my kids into helping me sort the items that have been received. Fundamentally it is not a difficult task but as I like to pack as much into boxes as possible it sometimes takes a bit of time (but never more than an hour). I’m lucky enough to have a garage with some space in it and this is where it all lives! See photo below for why I don’t have a car in my garage!)

At our school we currently collect quite a few items: crisp, popcorn, biscuit & confectionery packets; Pringles tubes; bread bags; beauty & toothcare packaging; baby food pouches & printer cartridges. Whilst I would love to collect even more I feel I am now at my limit and any more would make it unworkable. If you have a team of parents willing to get involved then it could be possible to expand even further.

As you can probably tell, I currently operate as a bit of a one-woman band with all this and am happy to do so. But, if you don’t have a parent as committed/crazy (delete as appropriate) as me then this is a task that needs to be shared. If you can find a willing teacher/parent who fancies running an Eco Club it could potentially be included as part of their activities.


Jo Sharp
St John's CofE Primary, Princes Risborough
(St John's CofE Primary is a member of The Stamptastic PTA Rewards Scheme) and received a £30 fundraising voucher for writing this blog post. If you would like to write a blog post for us please join our Stamptastic PTA and Schools Facebook Group to find out more!)
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