Classroom recycling ideas
It is vital to strive toward a greener future and encourage children to think about the environment to make a positive change. Organising green projects for your class is a perfect way to educate the next generation about the importance of being more environmentally friendly.
To help you with some activity inspiration, we have sourced some great classroom recycling ideas that you can implement.
Teach eco-based topics
Plan time during your lessons to teach pupils eco-based topics such as biodiversity and water. Adding eco topics to your lessons can allow children to gain cross-curricular learning. For example, creating a non-chronological report on water in English or using population numbers for maths mixes these core subjects with elements of geography and science.
There are lots of combinations that can be done when integrating these eco-based topics, so play around with your ideas a little and see what works best!
Plant a wildlife garden
Find a tranquil, sunny spot on your school premises and create a class wildlife garden. Plant some bee-friendly flowers to encourage bees and wildlife to flourish and pollinate your school. Task your pupils with taking care of this patch you create. Show them the importance of attracting wildlife to gardens as well as the responsibility of owning something to look after.
You could also turn this activity into a lesson about the effect of changing seasons on plants and wildlife so that children gain vital learning while having fun. You could also hang some recycled bird feeders once the garden is complete and turn old wellies into plant pots!
Have a class vegetable patch
If you’re lucky enough to have extra outdoor space that can be used, you could create your own class vegetable patch. Get pupils to plant vegetables and look after them whilst they grow. You could teach children the importance of being sustainable by growing your own food while you do this. To help water the vegetables, you could make your own watering cans from plastic containers.
Cut down on plastic
Cut down on your plastic usage and encourage the rest of the school to do the same. Meet with school leaders and colleagues to discuss the school’s plastic usage and how to reduce it. It could be as simple as switching to a milk company like the modern milkman to get the school’s milk supply. Companies like this use glass bottles that can be recycled better than plastic containers. Plus, many milk companies use an app, so ordering regularly is simple.
You can also ensure that utensils are greener by using eco-friendly stationery that is made from recycled plastic. Consider switching out key stationery items such as pens and pencils. It’s also great to switch your own stationery items to set a good example for your pupils.
Consider trying Edding’s Ecoline highlighters and permanent markers made from at least 90% recycled plastic. Edding’s highlighters are the first to be awarded the “Blue Angel” eco-label and are made from renewable resources.
Provide different coloured bins
Teach children to take responsibility with recycling by providing them with different coloured bins in the classroom. It’s best to start with a black bin for general rubbish and a blue bin for paper. Create some signs to help children identify which bin is for what which is useful when you introduce more for plastic and bottles. Children can then learn the colours and be able to correctly dispose of their rubbish by themselves.
Make an eco-club
Set up a class eco-club that pupils can participate in to help the school be greener. These pupils can be class and school representatives for anything that aids in being more eco-friendly. Encourage children to join by holding some engaging environmental activities to spark their interest.
Once you have a team of dedicated pupils, who are determined to make a positive change, plan regular meetings with different topics of what could be changed. Factor in the community as well as the school and try out everyone’s ideas to see what works best.
Recycle items in art
It’s simple to reuse and recycle items such as plastic in lots of different art and crafts. You could get pupils to collect plastic lids to bottles and create collages from them that can be displayed across the classroom. You could also collect plastic containers and create bird feeders out of them. This is great for taking care of birds, particularly through winter when food is scarce.
Take a trip to a local landfill
Arrange a trip for your class to the local landfill and educate children about where their rubbish goes and how it’s disposed of. Their learning can be reinforced, and the knowledge can last longer when they see it with their own eyes. It could also encourage children to recycle correctly and create a keen interest in making greener choices.
Organise a class litter pick
Litter is a huge problem for the environment and a school community can make such a difference. Arrange for your class to do litter picking around the community as a way to teach them the importance of taking care of the environment. Get other classes involved too by speaking to your colleagues and arranging regular rotations of classes to litter pick. To help with this, purchase a few litter pickers that pupils can share between small groups or pairs.
Organise a school uniform swap
Help your community further by organising a school uniform swap. School uniforms can be expensive for parents, and with children growing fast, it can be a constant purchase. Invite parents to donate their old but undamaged uniform that other parents can use for their children.
Hold an event where parents can come and pick new uniforms for no cost. This is a sustainable way of shopping for new items and massively helps parents save money. Plus, any extras that haven’t been chosen can be donated to charity.
Implement these classroom recycling ideas to teach children the importance of recycling and using recycled materials. There are many different ways of recycling and being more sustainable that children can try to make a difference for the future. Think about other ways to be environmentally friendly too and educate children about that such as planting a class garden. It’s best to cover all areas of sustainability so that children have the knowledge and ability to help change the environment.
For more advice on creating an eco-classroom and making environmentally friendly choices, check out our sustainable swaps blog.