Games, waste segregation

Waste Sorting Game

Purpose: to show children the basics of waste sorting by teaching them about the main 5 divisions of waste and also some of the exceptions which should be remembered when recycling.

obrazek, na którym są karty z przykładowymi śmieciami


  • cards picturing the examples of rubbish and waste (can be downloaded below)
  • cards picturing the 5 rubbish containers (can be downloaded below)
  • scissors
  • sticky tape for attaching cards to children’s t-shirts (optional)

Preparation for the game

dzieci stoją w kole

1. Ask the children to stand in a circle with one the middle.

2. Every child except the one standing in the middle receives a waste card. You can find some examples in the attachment below.

3. Spread the 5 pictures of rubbish containers outside of the circle (making sure the colours and coding system represent your own local recycling policy).

4. Before starting the game, explain to or remind the children how waste sorting works and what type of rubbish should be thrown into which container.

The game

1. Now name one of the colours of container (e.g. blue) aloud. The child in the middle should choose a friend standing in the circle who is holding a picture of rubbish that can be thrown into this container.

2. If the rubbish is a correct match to the type of container, the child in the middle puts the card next to the picture of that container.

3. Then the child whose card was chosen takes their place in the middle of the circle. Name another colour of bin and the new child in the middle of the circle should again find a person who has a picture with the right type of rubbish. The procedure is repeated until there are no more children in the circle.

4. If one of the children chooses an incorrect picture, they should stay in the middle of the circle until they make the right choice.

5. You can introduce additional challenges for more advanced groups of children who already know the basics of waste sorting. Exceptions from the 5 main categories (e.g. optical glass that can’t be thrown into glass bin but must be put into mixed waste, a lemon peel that can’t be thrown into the bin with bio waste). Again, make sure the examples you choose align with your own local areas waste policies to make them as applicable as possible. By introducing these exceptions, children will have to be more attentive when matching the waste to the bins.

For teachers

If you think it’s appropriate, you can change the rules of the game. Once the child in the middle has chosen a friend’s card correctly, they draw another picture of rubbish rather than leaving the game. For this, you must prepare more pictures with rubbish or prepare a double set of the same pictures. This version of the game is better for younger children who would like to take part in the game all the way through. In this case, it is up to you when the game should end.

This post was created within the framework of The Circular Economy Week 2018 under the slogan GOZpodarne wyzwanie. (thrifty challenge)

Partners and organizers

Circular week 2018
Csr consulting


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