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Recycling month raises hundreds!

Recycling schemes can be a great earner, but St James C.E. Primary School in Stourbridge take this to a whole new level! PTA secretary, Maxine Palmer shares the secrets of their success...

'Here at St James's, we channel most of our recycling efforts into a 'recycling month' which we run in October. We are supported well by our local businesses and community which is key to making the schemes work! Last year we included the following...

Jumble sale

While a jumble sale isn't everyone's cup of tea, it's easy to organise and serves as something of a community service for those parents who can't afford to buy new. And who doesn't love a rummage through piles of bric-a-brac? We spend a couple of hours on Friday evening emptying bags onto tables. We set up the tables all around the hall (approx 25-30) and separate donations into:

  • books, toys and games 

  • bric-a-brac 

  • men's clothes 

  • ladies' clothes 

  • children's clothes 

We hang curtains and bedding around the hall to display it as well as possible. We have volunteers dotted about behind the tables but we don't price anything up beforehand, giving volunteers discretion on pricing. Very roughly books and many clothing items are priced at 20p-50p with some new items hung on rails and priced at £1-£2.


Most clothes, curtains and bedding are recycled via the jumble sale which we try to do twice a year. Anything we have left over goes to our twice yearly collection, for which we get a fixed price per kilo. By scheduling the jumble sale a couple of months prior to this, we can use the donations from parents for both, putting our leftover jumble items into the Bag 2 School collection.

Printer cartridges

This has great potential, but last year we didn't do enough to promote our scheme. This year we hope to enlist the support of local businesses more effectively, getting them to keep used cartridges for us to collect. We'll provide them with a bag in September and allow a month for them to fill it. Most recycling schemes seem to pay £1 for every cartridge they can successfully recycle.


We use to recycle unwanted CDs and DVDs. Parents have told us that it's a great way of decluttering the house before new CDs and DVDs arrive at Christmas! This was really popular last year, raising £81 and again, it's easy to set up. There's a minimum quantity of 100 before the company collects, but that isn't usually a problem. As long as the original sleeve is intact, with a visible barcode on the back, it can be recycled (although promotional DVDs such as those that come free with the newspaper don't count).

Mobile phones

We haven't tried recycling mobile phones yet. One of our committee members has offered to take ownership of this, especially as we've heard there's money to be made here!


With kids growing out of their bikes practically every year, where do all those unwanted bikes end up? We advertise in the local press and with posters/flyers to local businesses encouraging people to bring along their unwanted bikes. People are asked to label the bikes with how much they would like to sell them for and we deduct 20% of the asking price. We run this in conjunction with the jumble sale and altogether raise around £250. The bike recycling has also become a great way to get dads involved in the PTA. We've found that the dads prefer to be outside helping people with the bikes. We are fortunate to have a few who are handy at adjusting the saddle height etc and who are knowledgeable about ensuring the best fit for the child. The bike sale in particular draws in a lot of people from the wider community who are not necessarily involved with the school.'

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