Games, Waste Segregation

Let’s Become Recycling Experts!

What is an object made of and is it recyclable? With our Let’s Become Recycling Experts activity, we advocate for an increased awareness in waste sorting and recycling. This activity integrates the practice of recycling into education, because it is important for children to develop sustainable habits as early as possible. Through this, not only do we teach children about sustainability, we can also be a part of a greater impact that protects our environment.


The teacher begins this activity by placing objects such as empty plastic bottles and paper cartons all over the classroom. Afterwards, the students take on the role of “Clean Detectives” and look around the classroom for the different objects. When each student has found something, the teacher gathers everyone’s attention and initiates a discussion about:

  • where the object comes from/what is it made of?
  • what is littering and why is it a problem?
  • is this object recyclable?
  • if they are recyclable, which category do they belong in?

Teachers should pay attention to the recycling habits of each student, and ensure students are learning and memorizing ways to recycle by bringing up helpful discussion points such as: do you recycle trash at home? During this, it is important to remember that different countries recycle things differently.

After discussion, students can play a game of matching. The teacher can print out cards with images of different types of garbage and make paper boxes with recycling colors or labels. The students then team up and decide what garbage belongs to which recycling box.

For the last part of the activity, the teacher checks to see if students have mastered their knowledge about recycling. The teacher pulls up cards with different garbage, and students have to decide if it is recyclable by doing a thumbs-up for yes or a thumbs-down for no. When everyone is able to get the answer right at the same time, all students are awarded with a “Recycling Expert Certificate”.

This activity was inspired by Shu-Ren Elementary School, a school in Taiwan that has dedicated a platform called Environmental Educational Web for teachers and students to learn about sustainability.

Le Tone Wei

Le Tone comes from Hong Kong and is currently studying art in the United States. She’s a passionate advocate for education and children’s rights.