When students enter high school, the dynamics of the lunchroom can dramatically change. Teens can choose what they want for lunch and have more freedom on the beverage options that they purchase and consume. These purchases include bottles and cans that should always be recycled but often end up in the regular trash. Instead of letting bottles and cans go to waste, there are four ways that teachers and school administrators can encourage recycling of these products. By setting the standard for recycling, the high school students can grow up and keep the same patterns in their personal lives.
It often only takes two words to bolster a little encouragement out of high school students: pizza party. By offering a prize, you can kick off improved can and bottle recycling by doing a can drive. Each home room in the school keeps account of their own cans and you can even place collection bins in each of the rooms. Whatever class collects the most cans will be declared the winner. Adding the incentive is a good way to start. It's good to do these drives one or two times a year to showcase how important recycling is. Additional incentive can be given in the form of extra credit or bonus points for classes that reach a specific goal in can collecting.
The Evolution of Recycling
Science teachers have a great opportunity to teach recycling and cover the curriculum. By assigning recycling research projects, students can learn about the importance of recycling and what the cans and bottles are actually used for. For example, one of the biggest learning lessons is the impact on the environment. Students can learn that recycling aluminum cans and reusing them as new cans reduces energy by nearly 95%.
As a student dives deeper into research, reports can focus on how cans and bottles are turned into all types of products like t-shirts, carpets, sleeping bags, jars, and jackets. By understanding the recycling process, teens can grasp the importance and spread the word through their research.
Bottle & Can Art
High schools often have an expanded art curriculum that allows teenagers to explore freely and creatively. You can easily use these classes to focus on bottle and can recycling. Students can come up with creative ways to use bottles and cans in their art and encourage recycling. For example, students could use bottles and cans to create an artistic model of a recycling symbol. The students could also come up with more abstract ways to showcase the impact of landfill waste and how important recycling is. These pieces could be displayed around the school to help encourage can and bottle recycling.
The recycling bins themselves could also become an art piece. Allowing students to paint the bins can showcase a number of creative ideas and help draw attention to the recycling bins. Painting the bins each semester or year could become a new tradition for the school.
Hold a special event where the whole focus is on recycling in the lunchroom. A can carnival is great way to feature cans and bottles in a variety of games. Recycled cans can be collected and saved to use for these games. There are a number of ideas that you can come up with. For example, in "Can Basketball," students would take turns shooting cans into a recycling bin. The recycling bins could be placed at different lengths or feature smaller openings to make it more challenging. A can or bottle knockdown game could also be played. Using small bean bags, students have to try to knock down a pyramid of cans or bottles. A collection of can tabs can be placed in a jar. The student that correctly guesses the amount of tabs can win a special treat or prize.
High school students are often creative. They can help come up with more ideas to help encourage recycling and reduce the amount of waste at the school. Check out the following link for additional reading.