Do you ever feel too small to make a difference? Would you like to make the planet a greener place but wonder how you and your students can realistically help? Don't ever underestimate the power of small, combined efforts! Inspire your students to increase their recycling efforts and watch how quickly your efforts multiply and create lasting change.
Our planet is a big place. The fact that we live on a giant rock that is constantly spinning and rotating around the sun can feel a bit overwhelming, and when you think that Mother Earth needs our help, it can seem a bit daunting. But she does! You and your students may make up only a small percentage of Earth's population, but that doesn't mean you can't make a big impact. Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito? That one small bite certainly made an impact, didn't it? One itchy bump can easily become all-consuming as your energy and focus are suddenly directed to making the itch go away! Don't ever underestimate the power of small things, small gestures, and small actions. A mosquito certainly doesn't!
One of the easiest ways students and families can help save the planet is to become more intentional about recycling. Any effort, no matter how big or small, can impact the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills. Here are some of our favorite recycling activities for students of all ages.
Are you and your students ready to recycle? No matter what your current recycling situation looks like, the following activities will help ensure your students are ready to ramp up their efforts and create a greener school.
What Happens Next? - Have you ever wondered what happens when you drop a plastic bottle or aluminum can into a recycling bin? These videos and PDFs will shed light on the life of a plastic bottle and the life of an aluminum can. As you learn more about the wonderful world of recycling, your students may be inspired to support the planet.
Join the Recycle Rally - If you're ready to have your school increase their recycling, join Pepsico's Recycling Rally. You can find resources, lesson plans, activities, and more as you support your students in helping the planet.
Set Up a School Program - Setting up a school program is simple. Help your students recycle on campus by using this step-by-step guide.
Go Waste Free - What's in your lunch box? One easy way to make a big impact on waste is to strive to make your meals more waste-free. Challenge your students (and colleagues) to pack a waste-free lunch once a week. The EPA website has suggested menu items and fun ways to track your success and waste-free streaks!
Students of all ages will benefit from these reading and recycling resources. Whether it's a series of read-alouds, short non-fiction selections used during your ELA or science instruction, or a basket (recycled, of course) that you place in your classroom library, be sure to check out and use these reading and recycling resources as part of your program.
Puzzles, Worksheets, and More - If you're looking for quick ready-to-use recycling (and recyclable!) resources, then be sure to check out edhelper.com's site. Filled with reading comprehension exercises, puzzles, and more, these resources will help you save time and the planet.
The Best Books - Harness the power of a good book as you share one of the twenty-five best recycling books of all time. With a combination of picture books and non-fiction resources, this list will share age-appropriate recycling information and encourage your students.
Recycling is great, but you can also reuse and repurpose many of the items that you find at home and in your classroom. Why not get crafty? You can create something fun and help the planet!
Bird Feeder from a Bottle - Feel like feeding your flying friends? This quick YouTube tutorial will show you how to use common household items, including an empty two-liter soda bottle, and create a hanging bird feeder. Not only will you be saving a bottle from the landfill, but you'll also be helping your local ecosystem while getting an up close and personal nature encounter right in your own backyard.
Paper-Mache Pots - Do you have a cabinet overflowing with plastic food containers? You may not need them for food, but you could use them for art! Repurpose those plastic containers and old magazines and create beautiful paper-mache pots. Once dry, use the pot to hold a plant, school supplies, or miscellaneous items around your home or classroom.
Sprinklers, Scoops, and More - The sky's the limit when using this site for great recycled craft ideas! Whether you want to create a charging station from a lotion bottle or a DIY watering can, this site will provide you with the ideas and inspiration necessary to get crafty and creative and be conscientious.
It's true that on your own, you, as one teacher, may not be able to save the planet. But never underestimate the power of one small step. Recycling can be that one small step! When efforts are combined, students, schools, and families can make a big difference. Whether it's learning about recycling, creating recycling challenges, or repurposing items to make art, each act is one step in helping our planet!