How To Motivate Elementary, High School, and University Students To Recycle
In many elementary schools, students are still required to eat lunch in their classrooms,
so it is important that each class has its own set of waste and recycling bins.
1. IDEAL FOR CLASSROOMS
To give kids a better understanding of the school recycling program and how they can effectively participate, you need to get them to understand what they are tossing out and where it belongs.
As a class, conduct a waste audit at the end of the day for three days in a row. With gloves and clear bags, ask students to identify what they are tossing, where they are tossing, and where certain items should be tossed. Have a group discussion about their learnings, what they are doing well, areas of improvement, and have them brainstorm ways to communicate the recycling program.
2. GET STUDENTS EXCITED ABOUT RECYCLING
There are so many great resources, books, and tools to get students excited, educated, and aware of why recycling and sustainability is so important these days. Here are some of our favorite tools that can be used by teachers and parents to instill a passion for protecting the environment/ ecosystems and reducing our waste:
Their mission is to nurture environmental leaders, reduce the ecological impact of schools, and build environmentally responsible school communities.
- Create a vibrant network of schools, school boards, and community partners
- Build strong EcoTeams with training sessions and tools
- Embed ecological literacy into the curriculum and daily practices
Project Nest Box connects students with nature by supplying bird nest boxes made from 97% post-consumer recycled plastic,
National Geographic for Kids has lots of resources about endangered species, protecting the environment, and battling plastic pollution, lessons, quizzes and educational videos.
Kids Take Action Against Ocean Plastic Short Film
Despite the vastness of Earth’s oceans, plastic pollutants are turning up everywhere, from the deep sea to the Arctic ice pack. In this short film from filmmaker Chris Hanson, 17 Hawaiian students study the impact of plastic pollution on their local beaches.
TED-ED is another great educational channel offering many different videos on a variety of topics including recycling and plastic pollution.
Little Green Books is ideal for the younger grades, this series of picture books are made from recycled material and teach kids to be more eco-friendly:
The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle
The Adventures of an Aluminum Can
I Can Save the Earth (One little monster learns to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle)
3. GET STUDENTS ENGAGED
Hold a recycling challenge to clean the school. Many schools ask students to spend a few hours a couple times a year cleaning the school yard and picking up litter. Take it a step further and once the litter is collected ask classes to sort the waste into the appropriate streams. Make it a class challenge about which class can collect and properly sort the most waste according to your recycling program streams.
We’ve worked with schools that have held a weekly competition where the school caretaker awards the “cleanest” class with the "Golden Garbage Can" (literally a gold spray painted garbage can). At the end of the year the class that has held the longes winning streak gets a free lunch. *Be sure that the "cleanest class" inspection includes the school's recycling program criteria and has the least contaminated streams.
4. DESIGN THE RECYCLING BIN GRAPHICS
Get the students involved in identifying what items go in what stream and let them be a part of choosing the graphics for the bins to help them identify
Have students create the signs and posters around the school about the recycling program, how to properly recycle, and why it is important.
If you haven’t heard of waste4books competition, it’s a fair and friendly competition across Ghana that is becoming an effective tool in helping colleges and universities advance their recycling and waste reduction efforts.
Reasons to participate:
- Leverage school spirit to engage and motivate students and staff to recycle and reduce waste
- Benchmark your school’s recycling and waste reduction efforts against other campuses
- Generate attention and support for expanding recycling and waste reduction programs
- Reduce waste and your school’s environmental footprint
1st winner institution will be rewarded usd 20,000 ,2nd usd 10,000 3rd usd 5,000
5. TEACH INCOMING STUDENTS ABOUT THE SCHOOL RECYCLING PROGRAM
With students hailing from different regions and cultural backgrounds it’s important to let fresh students know about your recycling expectations as soon as they arrive on school. Tell them what’s recyclable, where the indoor recycling bins are, where the outdoor recycling bins are, and what your school diversion rate goals are.
This will help them understand how to recycle effectively. Include links to your sustainability initiatives, an overview of the recycling program, and even a map of all the bins on school premises . Get students off on the right foot with the recycling program with their first step on campus.
For more information on successful school recycling programs to Start A Successful School Recycling Program and 4 Most Commonly Asked Questions About school Recycling - firstname.lastname@example.org