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Drink Milk and Recycle

Did you know that students who eat or drink more dairy foods get more nutrients in their diets and have improved bone health? In addition to calcium, milk contains eight other essential nutrients that can help you fuel your day. One proven way to increase milk drinking among students is to offer it in plastic bottles (instead of cardboard cartons) in a variety of flavors and at a nice cold temperature everyone enjoys.

How Does It Work?

  • Use this Play first to help advocate for service of milk in plastic containers (if your school does not do so already), at the right temperature — and second to build awareness about the benefits of recycling those plastic bottles!

    The following steps are suggestions for how to complete the Play — but they can be done in any order or combination and can be altered to fit your needs. If you find ways to adapt this Play to fit your school, share it with us through the Tips section!

Huddle Up

Huddle Up

  • Meet with your district and school nutrition leaders to find out what it would take for your school to change to plastic milk bottles. Students will definitely need to work with a Program Advisor on this one!

Make Your Case

Make Your Case

  • Make a case for change in your school. Work with your school nutrition manager to get your milk supplier to provide milk in plastic bottles for your school to try — you can even make it a taste test. 

    Learn how recycling, including plastic milk bottles, can save on your school’s trash removal costs. The more you have to recycle, the better discount trash haulers may give.

    Learn what the current costs are versus how they could be lowered, if your school does not already include plastic bottles as part of its recycling efforts.

    Work with school nutrition staff and create a chart that shows how money from recycling can be used for new nutritious menu items.

    Work together — students and adults — to set up a meeting with school officials to get support for your ideas.

Take Action

Take Action

  • Get Organized

    Interview your classmates on the importance of drinking low-fat or fat free milk. Create a student survey to find out if students would drink more milk if it was served in a plastic recyclable bottle versus a carton, in flavors they like. Use the Drink Milk and Recycle Sample Poll to find out a little about your schoolmates’ preferences and priorities (about milk and about recycling).

    Create an awareness campaign using information about how packaging, presentation, serving milk cold, and offering choice of flavors affect how much students drink; and don’t forget the nutritional benefits of drinking milk. 

    Work with your local recycling center to sponsor a “starter” recycling bin in your school decorated with your school logo or your local NFL Club’s colors and logos. Track and share totals about how many bottles you are able to collect over a certain period of time.

    Brainstorm ways to set up recycling centers at school for the plastic bottles — where they should go, how many there should be and how often they would be bundled and taken away. 

    Use the Starting a Recycling Program tip sheet to help draft a plan.


    Keep It Going

    Investigate whether grant funds may be available through local, regional or state recycling programs.

    Work with the school nutrition manager to get low-fat and fat-free milk added to your vending machines or as one of the options on the a la carte line. Try to get milk in plastic, recyclable bottles offered at school events.

Spread the Word

Spread the Word

  • Create flyers, posters, table tents or even a brochure listing all of the positive reasons for choosing milk and for choosing milk in plastic versus cardboard. 

    Take out ad space in your school’s sports programs showing how much trash volume is reduced by switching from paper to plastic (for example, fewer cubic yards to dispose).

Get Others Involved

Get Others Involved

  • Everyone can help:

    • Set up and conduct the poll
    • Promote the consumption of milk among students
    • Gather information and create information sheets or a presentation for the school and district nutrition administrators about the benefits of serving milk in plastic bottles
    • Solicit donations from local businesses to do taste tests with milk in plastic bottles
    • Meet with the school adults responsible for recycling and/or waste management to find out more about adding or increasing a recycling program in your school
    • Promote the program



How Does It Work?

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