You will need
- Clean items of recycling
- Coloured pens or pencils
- Scrap paper
Before you begin
- Ask everyone (and their parents and carers) to bring along plastic and cardboard that can be recycled at home.
- Lots of people can recycle metals (such as tin cans or clean foil) at home, but they’re not the best materials for making a bin and they can be sharp. If the group brings plenty of cardboard and plastic, they could make a bin for a few safe pieces of metal that you bring along.
- Before you let everyone loose with the recycling, remember to check for any sharp items.
- Bear in mind that thick cardboard and plastic may need to be cut with sharp scissors – it might be best for people to mark where they want to cut with a pen then ask an adult to do the snipping.
Bin it right
- Everyone should lay their recycling out on tables. The person leading the activity should check that it’s all safe for people to use.
- Everyone should gather around and chat about what can and can’t be recycled where they live.
- Everyone should work together to split the recycling into two piles, one for plastics and another for cardboard.
Build it tight
- Everyone should split into small groups.
- Each group should build a recycling bin using only cardboard or only plastics. They should think creatively about how to attach the materials, as glue and sticky tape aren’t recyclable.
- Each group should make a sign for the front of their bin, so others can see what belongs inside. They should draw the packaging symbols that tell people an item belongs in the recycling bin.
- Everyone should work together to sort the leftover materials into the new bins. When they’re full, the whole bin can be recycled (as long as anything like string is removed first).
This activity was all about recycling and being sustainable – a really important part of being responsible. Being responsible and looking after the planet involves lots of things and is much bigger than one activity, but this is a great place to start. What would happen if people didn’t recycle? A lot of items would go to landfill where they’d take up space and release gases. People would also have to cut down more trees and mine for more materials – when people recycle, they don’t have to disturb the natural world as much.
- Rubbish and recycling
All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.
Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people
Make it accessible
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.