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We recently received an email asking advice on activities that get people to reduce reuse and recycle and how to organize youth recycling activities and events in a community. There are a number of things to keep in mind when planning recycling activities, so here’s a few ideas that may work for your recycling event.
Education makes a difference. If people, whether they are students or general participants, understand why they are recycling, they are more likely to put effort into it. If you set up signs, use both graphics and words and show what goes in which bin and what does not.
Recyclemania, a nationwide university recycling competition, had a Green Team that promoted recycling and their event by giving out free “I Pledged” reusable water bottles for participants that signed a pledge to reduce waste habits for life, especially plastic consumption. The Green Team also used a strategy where students seen using recycle bins around campus got a Caught Green Handed ticket, which was redeemable for a free slice of pizza.
These were both successful ideas used to motivate people at recycling events, and provide great examples from which to build. Find more more information on the Recyclemania website.
Incentives like the ones mentioned above are always a great way to encourage people to think about the waste they produce and to recycle more. For any reduce reuse recycle activities, plan to stress how recycling saves money, preserves valuable landfill space, and supports a cleaner environment. Recycling is a win-win, and winning a prize such as a small amount of money or tickets to a local game or show- just for recycling- are also nice incentives.
Tips for Recycling Activities
- Depending on the age of people participating in the event, having a recycling mascot is fun. Just be careful- you don’t want the mascot to become the butt of jokes, like what happened at the Kansas State with their ill-fated EcoKat idea. In this case, publicity was negative and not successful.
- Recycling bin decorating is a fun activity. It’s easy to see how this decorated bin catches more attention than just a plain blue bin. This is an area for a lot of creativity!
- Although volunteers are not needed at every recycling event, their support can help ensure the success of recycling activitiies.
- Games, like the Recyclympics put on by the University of Tennessee, or like the re-imagined arcade game featured above are great ways to foster a lot of engagement and have fun too.
- The Fundraiser Encyclopedia also has many ways to earn money recycling for your organization, or for your community or a charity.