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Wally Recycle characterGarbage is something that everybody makes, but not many people think about. What happens to your garbage after you throw it away? Does everything we put in our garbage cans really need to be there, or can it be used again, or maybe even made into something new? How does garbage affect our health and environment?

We invite you to explore the exciting world of garbage! Learn how to make less garbage and have a positive impact on your world!

What’s in Our Garbage

garbage can layersAll of the cans, bottles and paper we throw away can be recycled into new things. Wood, food & yard clippings can be composted. This turns them into a healthy soil that helps new plants grow. Look in your trash to see if you can find any of these things that can be recycled, composted or reused instead of thrown away forever in a landfill.


Plastic tubs


Food scraps

How to Reduce Garbage

The Three R’s – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – teach us how we can think about garbage in a new way and help the earth.

There is only so much tin, aluminum, plastic and other materials in the world that we can use to make things. If we all reduce, reuse and recycle, we can all help to conserve these resources.


This “R” means you stop waste before it starts! Bring a waste-free lunch by packing it in reusable or recyclable containers, such as a lunch box.

  • Compost food waste in a worm bin.
  • Avoid disposables. It’s wasteful to only use something once and throw it away. Instead, use cloth diapers, cloth napkins, real towels and handkerchiefs; rechargeable batteries, reusable plates, glasses and cutlery silverware instead of one-time use products.


This “R” means you or someone else will use an item over and over instead of throwing it away or recycling it.

  • Use scrap paper for art projects.
  • Reuse paper bags, wrapping paper, or newsprint for book covers.
  • Hold a yard sale or donate clothing and toys when you don’t want them anymore.
  • Set up a reuse box in the classroom for used pencils, pens, folders and other items that are still usable.
  • Use both sides of a sheet of paper before recycling it.


This “R” means that something old is remade into something new. For example, when you are done drinking a soda, the can goes to a factory where it is remade into an aluminum baseball bat. A plastic milk jug can becomes a fleece jacket.

How to recycle at your house.

Where to Put Your Garbage

kid decides which cart to throw trash inHow do I sort my garbage?


Items put into the recycling cart are turned into new products.


Anything put in the trash can gets buried in the landfill forever. Only put stuff in here if you can’t put it in one of these other places:


Put leaves, grass, flowers and branches in the Yard Waste Cart. They will get “composted” into healthy soil to help new plants grow.

compost bin

Compost Bin

worm bin

Worm Bin


You can also put leaves, grass, flowers and some food scraps into a compost bin in your backyard. They will get “composted” into healthy soil to help new plants grow.


Feed your food scraps to the worms and you can make nutritious compost for plants.


Donate things you don’t need or want anymore so someone else can use them! You can reuse clothing, books, furniture.


Hazardous Waste you bring here is disposed of properly to save the environment and the water supply. Learn about Hazardous Waste.

What to Recycle

Recycle at Home-It’s Easy!

All homes and some apartment buildings have recycling collection service. If you’re not sure, ask your parents or your building manager. If you don’t have a recycling program, ask how you can start one. So it’s easy for you and your family to recycle the things listed below by placing them in your special recycling cart.

recycleables collage Soda cans and bottles Juice & milk bottles and cartons Food cans, like for soups and beans Newspaper Magazines Catalogs Comic books Drawings Old homework Flyers Cereal boxes Cracker and cookie boxes Shampoo bottles Yogurt tubs Mail Envelopes

kid holding money from selling recyclingRecycle and Make Some Money!

If your mom and dad will help you, you can earn a little extra money by taking bottles and cans marked with “CRV” to a “buy-back center.” Buy-back centers give you cash back for returning certain kinds of bottles and cans. Look for the CRV label on the bottle or can.