Stop Waste!

Stop Waste! lesson plan

From snack packages to worn-out tires and nuclear waste, people keep generating trash! Let’s all do our share to help stop waste with the three R’s.

  • 1.

    Did you know that people in the United States throw away an average of 3.5 lbs (1.59 kg) of trash every day? Where does it all go? What happens to nuclear waste from energy plants? How about all the tires that are removed from the world’s cars each year?

  • 2.

    <STRONG>How to help solve this problem?</STRONG> People can follow the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. What can you do to reduce waste? With Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils on white paper, list items you, your families, and your classmates can reuse or recycle, such as glass, paper, or plastic. Find out where the landfills and recycling plants are in your community.

  • 3.

    <STRONG>What part of this issue captures your imagination?</STRONG> If it’s reuse, maybe one solution is a toy or CD/DVD swap? What about walking to the library more, or reusing your own fabric grocery bags? How can you convince others to follow the three R’s? Use Crayola Markers on white paper to get your point across with a dramatic sign or poster.

  • 4.

    <STRONG>Now it’s time to stop waste!</STRONG> Find prominent places in your community to display your posters. Generate a commitment to a cleaner community!


  • Students learn about different kinds of waste, from household trash to industrial and nuclear waste, describing where it goes and how it affects the environment.
  • Students research information about their school’s and community’s waste disposal and recycling system.
  • Students show that they understand the importance of environmental education and the reasons for reducing, reusing, and recycling garbage by creating a drawing encouraging others to follow the three R’s.


  • Research "pre-cycling," which forces product designers and manufacturers to create packaging that considers recycling.
  • Learn how different types of power plants (coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric, wind) work and how their wastes are disposed of in various countries.
  • Study a tragedy such as the Love Canal in New York or Russia’s Chernobyl. Draw the scene and write how these disasters can be prevented.
  • Examine the community to find how retailers or companies help solve the waste problem. For instance, does a firm turn commercial waste into compost, a retail store offer recycled consumer products, or is there a plastic bottle recycling plant?
  • Assessment: List and illustrate the many items used every day that can be reused or recycled.