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3 Activities to Teach Children Recycling Habits

Now that 74% of paper[1] and 83% of paper-based packaging[2] in Europe is recycled into new products, how do we pass on our recycling routine to the next generation to help maintain and improve the current recycling rates?

Recycling is becoming more essential in our daily lifestyle with councils changing bin collection routines, companies promoting their reusable products and news channels telling us of the increasing ocean pollution and micro-plastics.

With global waste levels reaching an ever-increasing high, there is no better time to try and teach children the importance of recycling and how to carry it out. A key way for children to understand and be able to recycle is to set up fun activities that will get them engaged and interested in the subject.

1. Upcycling Shoeboxes

The main task of a shoebox is to protect the product. When emptied, the shoebox can be used as a storage device, or, with a bit of imagination (and a bit of glue) can be turned into crafty fun-filled projects. 7 DIY Projects You Can Do With Shoeboxes, to Minimize Waste can be found here.

2. Make It A Game

Setting up a race is a great way to try to get your child to recycle. A good example of this is to have a pile of rubbish and two bins set up: one recycling, and the other one for general waste. (We suggest doing this outside in case of any mess)

When you start the race, tell them to place the items which are recyclable into the recycling bin and the non-recyclable ones into the general waste bin. At the end, see if they put the correct items in the correct bins and if not tell them which items should be recycled. This brings out children’s competitive side and they will also try to recycle correctly so they can learn what items should be recycled and which items shouldn’t (Recycling For Kids: How To Teach Your Children To Reduce, Reuse & Recycle!-Blog-Jinga Life – Your Family’s Digital Health Solution).

3. Worksheets

Unsurprisingly, worksheets are a great way for kids to learn why we should recycle and which materials can be too. Sorting activities are great for this subject especially as they try and sort which objects belong in a recyclable column and a non-recyclable column.

Why not try our worksheet on what can and can’t be recycled? There are a bunch of other paper-based activities on the Love Paper website, from origami sheets to crosswords and word searches. Why not check them out?


So if you are in need of some light entertainment for the children, or simply want to educate them on the do’s and don’ts of recycling, why not turn it into something fun and memorable.


  1. CEPI, 2020
  2. Eurostat, 2018

The Paper Fact File

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