Tuesday – Waste & Recycling
Let's talk trash this Tuesday!


Educational services in California dispose of large amounts of waste. These wastes represent a significant loss of natural resources and school district funds. School district waste reduction programs can foster student achievement by transforming the school environment into a laboratory for learning and providing numerous opportunities for investigation through environment-based education. 

Consider the following statistics:

The United States generates 1.3 billion pounds of trash per day and spends $12 billion dollars per year on waste management alone.

40% of the food grown in this country is wasted – that’s 20 pounds of food per year per person monthly.

After recycling, about 80% of our nation’s garbage goes to landfill.

The National Academy of Sciences estimated 14 billion pounds of trash is being dumped in the ocean every year from boats and ships, a third coming from the United States.


Activity (Elementary) – Collect various recyclable and non-recyclable items from around the school or classroom. Use the list provided to teach students learn about what can and cannot be recycled in their classrooms. Give students the collection of items and have them sort the items into the correct bins. 

Competition (Elementary) – Create a recycling relay. Have two or three teams each form a line, with a recycling bin and a trash bin on the other side of the room. Create a clear path for the teams to the bins. When you start, pass the item through the line saying either “trash” or “recycle” as it is handed to the next person. Once it gets to the end of the line, they must run to put it in the correct container. The team that gets the most correct in a certain amount of time wins. 

Activity (Middle/High) – Students use a backpack to collect and carry any waste they produce for the entire day. The Trash On Your Back® Challenge gives students perspective on what their personal trash impact is and challenges their perceptions about how much trash they think they produce. This activity can be extended for multiple days or all week. 

Competition (Middle/High) – Have students make predictions on how much trash they think they will create and take measurements at the end of collecting. The student who creates the least amount of trash wins. 

Online Recycling Games – Recycle City