Make Recycling Education Fun with a Recycling Scavenger Hunt

Kids & parents recycling

Let’s face it: recycling can be a confusing chore, especially for children. They see the blue recycling bin in the house but might not understand what goes in them. So, what can you do to actually promote recycling as a habit for your children?

Print off this recycling scavenger hunt and let the fun begin!
Download the recycling scavenger hunt

We’ve created a fun scavenger hunt to make recycling an enjoyable lesson in the house and the classroom. With paper being one of the most recycled materials in the U.S., there are plenty of paper-based items that can be recycled. To make things easier, here’s a list of what your children can get started with recycling:

  • Magazines and Newspaper: We know children love to circle the new shoes and clothes they want in magazines, so make sure they recycle them when they’re finished with their wardrobe wish list! No need to remove the staples either.
  • Mail and Envelopes: We all love those school supply sales and coupons in the mail, so be sure to recycle the envelopes afterwards! And yes, even the ones with plastic windows.
  • Pizza Boxes: It may take a while to get back into the routine of going back to school. And we’re no judge when it comes to skipping cooked meals for pizza delivery (in fact, we’re all for it!). Just don’t forget to recycle the pizza boxes—even with a little grease and cheese.
  • Paper Bags: Those lunch and grocery bags can pile up quickly, so if you can’t reuse them, be sure to recycle those afterwards!
  • Shoe boxes: Shoes, shoes, and more shoes! Those new Converse and Jordan boxes can pile up too, so take those to the recycling bin after emptying and breaking them down!
  • Beverage Cups, Boxes and Cartons: Orange juice, apple juice, chocolate milk cartons, you name it; all recyclable items (just be sure all liquid is emptied). Make packing lunches a more sustainable and feel-good activity!

Our downloadable recycling scavenger hunt printable can help encourage children to recycle paper products in a more interactive and engaging way. And feel free to share the scavenger hunt with other families to promote a more connected recycling community, or even make it a fun neighborhood game! We also have a recycling cheat sheet that you can post around all recycling bins.

Remember, paper products can be recycled up to 7—yes, 7!—times, and be sure to always check your local recycling regulations, since they vary by community. For more information, you can visit the Environmental Protection Agency website and read our other article, How to Teach Kids to Make Recycling a Habit, for more ways on how to make recycling fun in the household and classroom. Happy scavenging!