How to guide

Early Childhood

> Bin It
Set up a recycling system


Waste is such a waste! No really, it is: it’s a waste of energy, water, fuel, and of the valuable resources required to make all the stuff we’re wasting. Recycling our waste where we can (instead of binning it) will save these valuable resources from being wasted AND will reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gases that we produce (waste that is sent to landfill breaks down in a way that releases carbon dioxide).

Take a closer a look at the waste you create at your centre and you’ll discover most of it can be recycled! Materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic packets and food scraps can all be recycled. It’s also pretty easy to do and we think you’ll find it can actually be a way to have some fun with your kids!

How To Do It

Set up recycling bins

There are lots of things you could collect and recycle, such as:

  • Paper and cardboard
  • Mixed recycling (bottles, cans, containers, etc.)
  • Soft plastic (plastic bags and packets)
  • Organic waste (food scraps)
  • Water (from bubblers)

Choose something that you know your centre creates a lot of and that way your actions will have a bigger positive impact!

Before setting up your recycling system brainstorm the following questions:

  • How will you collect the waste and what will you need? (E.g. bins, buckets, boxes)
  • How will you show your recycling bins are special? (E.g. signs, labels, bright colours)

Wondering how to get the kids involved? Your kids will be the biggest stars of your recycling program and will help to drive all your recycling activities forward. Depending on the age of children, they could:

  • Create signage for your bins/recycling program;
  • Participate in recycling games like the ‘Recycling Olympics’ where children compete to put a range of recycled materials into the correct bins in the shortest amount of time;
  • Listen to the Three R’s by Jack Johnson;
  • Create a class recycling montage using rubbish and recycling related images or recyclable materials;
  • Be nominated as daily recycling monitors, looking into the bins and photographing how much recycling is being saved from the rubbish bins each day.

Quick tip: Before you start, think about what you will do with the waste once you start collecting it and make sure it has somewhere to go.

Safety tip: Ensure that all children are aware of sharp/dirty items and understand that they need either rubber gloves or tongs to handle these items, or better still, adult help.

Whole centre tip

Increase your efforts by involving all rooms in collecting and recycling. Explain to parents/guardians what the centre is doing and encourage them to talk to their children at home about recycling.

What’s Our Impact?

Keep track of how much you recycle in one week. How much did you save from ending up in landfill and going to waste? (E.g. how many bins, buckets or ice cream containers full?) At the end of one week, add together the number of bins of waste sent to recycling and create a ‘Tower of Recycling’. You can do this by either stacking the equivalent number of bins of recycling on top of each other in the yard or by creating life size drawings of the bins, decorating them and sticking these paper bins to the wall as a tower.


Fast Facts

Recycling 1kg of cardboard can save up to 1kg of greenhouse gases from being created and up to 30,000 litres of water.

Paper can be recycled up to eight times.

Recycling a single aluminium can saves enough electricity to run a TV for three hours.

Recycling 1kg of aluminium saves 20kg of greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.