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Race to recycle

Learn how to recycle different items. What else can everyone do to help protect the environment?
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Sticky tack
  • Scissors

Before you begin

  • Make four signs: ‘Recycle at home’, ‘Compost’, ‘Recycling centre or collection point’ and ‘Rubbish’.
  • Put these up in different areas of the meeting place.

Talk about recycling

  1. Everyone should sit in a circle.
  2. Everyone should think about anything they already do to recycle at home or at school. Some people could share their ideas if they want to.
  3. Everyone should think about why recycling is so important. Some people could share their ideas if they want to.
  4. The person leading the activity should help everyone understand that recycling, using fewer things, and reusing items reduces the negative effect we have on the planet.

Play the game

  1. The person leading the game should explain what each sign means, so everyone understands.
  2. Everyone should stand in the middle.
  3. The person leading the game should call out an example of a piece of rubbish
  1. Everyone should move to the right sign depending on whether they could recycle it at home, compost it, take it to a recycling centre, or put it in the rubbish.
  1. The person leading the game should tell everyone the right answer. They should explain what’s likely to happen to the item as it’s recycled, composted, or put in the rubbish bin.
  2. The game ends when the person leading the game runs out of items to call out.


This game reminded you that you’re a local, national, and international citizen. Part of this means you have an important part to play in taking care of the world—as citizens, we all have responsibilities. Imagine yourself recycling one item from the game, and how you’d do it. Now, imagine all of your neighbours, family, and friends joining in. What would happen if all of their neighbours, family, and friends recycled more? What happens when you mix a small change and a lot of people?

This activity also let you think about helping your community. Do you recycle at home? What about at school? Where can you recycle in your local area? You could make a big difference by sharing your new knowledge with other people. You could encourage your friends to recycle more, encourage everyone to turn off the lights when they’re not needed, and take reusable bags to the shop.



Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.

Rubbish and recycling

All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.