Eco-Cycle's Zero Waste Schools Activity Guide
Our current production system is most often a one-way trip for natural resources. We start by extracting resources from the Earth and manufacturing them into products, eventually disposing of these things into a landfill, or worse, as litter in the environment. When we need new products, we extract more natural resources as if there is an infinite supply, destroying habitat and polluting communities in the process.
There is a different path we can take: building circular economies in which waste is reduced, fewer natural resources are extracted, and already-extracted resources are reused over and over again. Reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting are the Zero Waste tools that provide tremendous benefits to the environment and to human health.
There is no better way to change society's wasteful habits than by educating and engaging children and their families, and there is no better time than now.
USING ECO-CYCLE’S ZERO WASTE SCHOOLS ACTIVITY GUIDE
Our Zero Waste Schools Activity Guide for schools, camps, and other settings that serve preschool through high school youth will bring your group closer and closer to Zero Waste in creative and low-cost ways, diverting more and more of our planet’s precious natural resources from the landfill.
The guide is arranged in four sections: Waste-Reduction Activities, Recycling Activities, Composting Activities, and Motivators and Rewards. You can download and print the full guide, or each section can stand on its own and be printed or downloaded separately.
DOWNLOAD THE FULL GUIDE
To download the full Zero Waste Schools Activity Guide (178 pages), click here.
DOWNLOAD SECTIONS OR CHAPTERS
You can also download individual sections, or chapters within sections, below.
Section 1: Introduction (view and download section here)
Section 2: Waste Reduction Activities (view and download section here)
- Chapter 1 – Eco-Wise School Supplies
- Chapter 2 – Waste-Free Lunch, Part 1: Classroom Challenge
- Chapter 2 – Waste-Free Lunch, Part 2: School Contest
- Chapter 2 – Waste-Free Lunch, Part 3: Durables in the Cafeteria
- Chapter 3 – Refillable Water Bottle Project
- Chapter 4 – Take a Bite Out of Food Waste
- Chapter 5 – “One or None” Paper Towel Campaign
- Chapter 6 – Paper Reduction Campaign
- Chapter 7 – Trimming Holiday Waste
- Chapter 8 – Getting Artsy with Reuse
- Chapter 9 – Locker Leftovers/Classroom Cleanout
- Chapter 10 – Reducing Junk Mail
- Chapter 11 – Zero Waste School Parties and Events
- Chapter 12 – Repurposing in the Classroom
- Chapter 13 – Making Cloth Napkins
- Chapter 14 – Reusing Children’s Books
- Chapter 15 – Green Cleaning: Non-Toxic Schools
- Chapter 16 – Lessening Litter
- Chapter 17 – Purchasing Policy, Part 1: Classroom Policy
- Chapter 17 – Purchasing Policy, Part 2: School District Policy
Section 3: Recycling Activities (view and download section here)
- Chapter 18 – School-wide Recycling Collection
- Chapter 19 – Special Materials for Recycling
- Chapter 20 – Creative Crayon Recycling
- Chapter 21 – Making Recycled Paper
- Chapter 22 – Carton/Drink Container Recycling Campaign
Section 4: Composting Activities (view and download section here)
- Chapter 23 – Composting with Worms
- Chapter 24 – Backyard Composting at School
- Chapter 25 – Schoolwide Compost Collection
- Chapter 26 – Worm Bin Composting Workshops
Section 5: Motivators and Rewards (view and download section here)
- Chapter 27 – Reinforcing Collection Programs Over Time
- Chapter 28 – Reporting Progress
- Chapter 29 – Student Sponsor Group Celebration
- Chapter 30 – Conducting a Waste Audit
- Chapter 31 – Zero Waste Field Trips
- Chapter 32 – Compost Delivery
- Chapter 33 – Five and Ten-Year Celebrations
- Chapter 34 – Celebrating Earth Day
- Chapter 35 – Special Considerations for High Schools
Section 6: Glossary (view and download here)
Eco-Cycle thanks the following sponsors of Eco-Cycle’s Zero Waste Schools Activity Guide for funding the development and the free distribution of the guide.