Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!

Has your school got recycling bins? Do you know where your rubbish and recycling goes? How are your dealing with food waste?

There are some simple questions you can ask when looking at your systems within school to deal with you rubbish and recycling. Our team here at Waste Education HQ can help with in-school workshops and practical help and info around waste and recycling. The activities on this page will help your school get the most out of your recycling systems.

3Rs Monitoring Activities

These four hands-on activities allow pupils to monitor how well your school’s 3Rs systems are working. The activities can be used by a teacher with a class of KS2 pupils, an Eco Co-Ordinator with a mixed age Eco Team working on a ‘Waste’ topic, or a combination of the two.

You may want to start with activity 1, then progress through activities 2, 3 and 4 in order. However each activity works well on its own, so dip in and use them to suit your school and the time you have available.

As well as engaging pupils with waste issues, these monitoring activities produce pupil-friendly data which can be used in maths teaching, shared with the rest of the school in assembly and displayed on your Eco-Schools notice-board. When repeated over time they will provide great evidence that your school is getting better at using the 3Rs. Celebrate your achievements with the whole school, and don’t forget to share your data with governors, parents or an Eco-Schools Green Flag assessor.

Children with recyclable material labels
5 smiling children in school uniform standing behind a recycling box full of clean recyclable household packaging

Activity 1 

Small group activity: check that all rooms in your school have the containers they need to reuse, recycle and compost.

Activity 2a

Class activity: conduct a recycling audit to find out if the paper in your recycling containers has been used on both sides.

Activity 2b

Class activity: record your audit results then use this spreadsheet’s pie and bar charts to inform your plan of action.

Activity 3a

Small group activity: conduct quick spot checks around school to find out if people are reusing paper before recycling it.

Activity 3b

Small group activity: use this spreadsheet to record your spot check results and analyse its charts to see change over time.

Activity 4

Small group activity: check the rubbish bins around the school for materials that should have been recycled.

Activity 5

Small group activity: School 3Rs Audit sheet