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November 15th is America Recycles Day...
find out how you can Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!



Nearly everything we do leaves behind some kind of waste. Households create ordinary garbage while industrial and manufacturing processes create solid and hazardous waste. EPA regulates all this waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA's goals are to:

  • Protect us from the hazards of waste disposal;
  • Conserve energy and natural resources by recycling and recovery;
  • Reduce or eliminate waste; and
  • Clean up waste, which may have spilled, leaked, or been improperly disposed.

What You Can Do

Find out what you can do to help make a difference in our environment everyday! Whether you're at home, on the go, in the office, or at school, there are many opportunities to go green by Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling.

At Home

  • Reduce food waste by using up the food you already bought and have in the house instead of buying more. You already paid for it - so use it!
  • Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters.
  • Reuse items around the house such as rags and wipes, empty jars and mugs, party decorations, and gift wrap.
  • Buy products in concentrate, bulk, and in refillable containers. They reduce packaging waste and can save you money!
  • Return used car tires to retailers or wholesalers that recycle or retread them. Tires are banned from most landfills, and illegally dumped tires become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.
  • When buying products, check the labels to determine an item's recyclability and whether it is made from recycled materials. Buying recycled encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available.

At School:

  • Before starting a new school year, sort through the school supplies on-hand. Many supplies, like notebooks or pens and pencils, can be reused or recycled. You can share your used books and other school supplies with friends, relatives, or younger schoolchildren.
  • For school dances or other events, decorations and other supplies can be borrowed or rented. If you buy these supplies, try adopting a theme that can be used from year-to-year, so that you can reuse them.
  • Many schools reuse text books to save money and reduce waste. Covering your textbooks with cut-up grocery or shopping bags helps reduce waste and keeps your books in good condition.
  • If you buy lunch, take and use only what you need: one napkin, one ketchup packet, one salt packet, one pepper packet, one set of flatware. Remember to recycle your cans and bottles, and separate your waste if your school has separation bins!
  • To reduce packaging waste, use school supplies wrapped with minimal packaging, use compact or concentrated products, or buy products in bulk.

Some of the sites listed on this page are not on the EPA Web site. Please see our disclaimer information Exit EPA Disclaimer

More resources for students....

Cool Games

Recycle City
Explore Recycle City to see how the people of the town reduce waste, use less energy, and even save money by doing simple things at home, at work, and in their neighborhoods.


Sort Mania
This interactive game teaches you how to recycle.

Cool Websites

Clean Sweep USA
There's lots to learn about solid waste management: Garbage pizza, Waste watchers (make less waste in the first place), Compost Office, Recycling Rules, Energy to Burn (burning waste to generate electricity), Landfill Lounge (how landfills work)

Planet Protectors On-Line Coloring Book
Do you like to color? Do you like to color on-line? Visit this page and you'll find a really awesome picture that you can color over and over again!

Recycle City
A game, an interactive book, and other puzzles will teach you hundreds of ways a whole town can reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Sort Mania
This interactive game teaches you how to recycle.

Waste No Words
How much do you know about garbage and recycling? Find out in this totally awesome crossword puzzle!

Where Compost Happens
See how Mansfield Middle School set up a school-wide food waste composting program.

Teacher Resources

Basic information about Waste
Grades: 9-12, adult

Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste
This site describes how people can help solve a growing problem...garbage!
Grades: adult

Hazardous Waste: Superfund
A collection of activities to assist in teaching about hazardous waste, environmental issues surrounding site cleanup, and the Federal government's Superfund program.
Grades: 6-12

Pollution Prevention Toolbox
The toolbox contains a series of four-page lesson plans on various pollution prevention concepts for schools.
Grades: 6-8

The Quest for Less: Activities and resources for teaching K-8
Use this resource to develop lesson plans, incorporate a range of activities into various subject areas throughout the school year.
Grades: k-8
Subtopic: waste
Type of resource:  Lesson Plan

Resources for Waste Education
These online activities make learning about recycling fun! Students will love the colorful graphics and educational activities.
Grades: 6-8

Science Fair Fun: Designing Environmental Science Projects (PDF) (16 pp, 245K About PDF ) (EPA 530-K-00-008) Resource booklet designed to generate ideas for students and teachers interested in solid waste science fair projects
Grades: 6-8

Science Fair Fun: Designing Environmental Science Projects en Español (PDF) (16 pp, 223K About PDF )
Resource booklet designed to generate ideas for students and teachers interested in solid waste science fair projects.
Grades: 6-8

Superfund: About Superfund
This page provides an overview of the Superfund program, highlights key steps in the Superfund cleanup process, explains how the program is enforced, describes EPA's Superfund offices, and links to other EPA hazardous-waste programs.
Grades: 9-12, adult

Superfund: Classroom Activities
This site has resources to help teachers and educate students about the Superfund Program. It includes several activities, environmental cleanup videos, and a participatory program in which classrooms collect weather data for EPA.
Grades: k-12

Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools
EPA's Tools to Reduce Waste in Schools helps your school and school district reduce the amount of waste you generate. You'll learn how to start a waste reduction program or expand an existing one. The guide will show you how your program can benefit your school, your community, and the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling your waste.
Grades: 9-12

Waste publications by topic - Educational Resources
Grades: k-12

Where Can I Take My Computer?
Web sites and organizations that can provide information on opportunities for donating and recycling computers and other electronics.
Grades: 9-12, adult
Subtopic: waste

The Adventures of Herman the Worm
A site for younger kids to learn about composting, worm bins and the biology of earthworms. What's on the menu at the Worm Deli? ¡En Español tambien!
Grades: k-5

Composting in Schools  
A comprehensive guide for teachers interested in guiding students' research projects on composting. The book was selected by the National Science Teachers Association to be included in 'Recommends', a collection of the best science education books.
Grades: k-12

Earth 911 (Recycling)  
Type in your ZIP code or find your State on a map to locate recycling centers in your community "for all types of recyclables." This site contains information you can use to teach middle school and high school students about waste prevention, recycling and other environmental issues.
Grades: 6-12

Trash Goes to School - Activities
A range of activities and projects for learning about solid waste and recycling. Covers reduction, recycling, composting, incineration, landfills and risk.
Grades: 9-12




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