Last week, we introduced you to our “It’s Easy Being Green” program with the Farm to Table card game. Students also play another exciting green game in this program, a recycling relay race. New York City produces 14 million tons of waste and recyclables every year and nearly half of that gets recycled. We can do better! PlaNYC’s goal is for us to divert 75% of our trash from landfills by 2030.
Every household, business, and school in the city is required to recycle by law. The city usually picks up recycling once a week from your curb. You can look up your pick-up day here. Now, it’s just time to sort…an activity that isn’t always as intuitive as you’d think.
For our recycling challenge, we split kids into two teams and give each team three bins: Paper & Cardboard/ Glass, Metal & Plastic/Trash. Each group gets a bag full of mixed (clean) trash and recyclables. Each child in the group studies the NYC handy dandy recycling fridge magnet and then sorts one waste item into a bin. To make this activity more exciting, each student must wait until the previous student places their item and returns to their seat before they can place their own item in the proper bin. The two teams race to the finish, but of course, it’s a race of accuracy rather than speed. We then go through each bin item by item. If an opposing team thinks an item has been placed incorrectly, they can hold up a hand and say “I Object!”. We talk through the discrepancy and make sure the item makes it to the proper bin.
Are you recycling savvy? Take our little quiz to find out!
Q 1: Where would you put a yogurt container?
Yogurt containers can’t be recycled- only 1 & 2 plastic bottles and jugs can be recycled. What if it has a 1 or 2 on it but isn’t a bottle or jug? Nope, won’t work. The plastic in 1 & 2 take-out containers, soup containers, or cups can’t be melted down with 1 & 2 bottles & jugs. Tricky stuff! Read more on plastics here.
Q2: Does it matter if your recyclables are gunky?
Yes! Rinse your items before you throw them in the bin. If your recyclables are too gunky, the may be considered “contaminated” and not recycled.
Q3: Do you have to put your recyclables in a clear bag, won’t a black bag do?
When you place your recyclables on the curb, they need to be in a clear plastic bag OR tossed in a bin labeled with an NYC Recycling sticker (but no black bags) . Fill out this form to request recycling decals for your bins.
Q4: Can lids be recycled?
Recycle metal lids, but toss the plastic ones.