Incorporate recycling, composting, and waste reduction into your curriculum! Curricula and grant funds are available as well as field trips and workshops.


Curricula Resources

Don’t Dump It, Recycle It, A Lesson Plan

The Mattress Recycling Council/ByeBye Mattress created a 5-task lesson plan to guide students through the journey of waste, the impact on the natural environment, and how to mitigate illegal dumping. With the last lesson offering fun facts and statistics about mattress recycling and how mattress components can be broken down into useful materials. Access the link to download a free lesson plan!


Education and the Environment Initiative 

The Education and the Environment Iniative (EEI) curriculum teaches select K-12 California academic content standards in Science and History-Social Science, using the environment as a context for learning. This engaging curriculum is designed to increase environmental literacy, and help students become critical thinkers, informed decision makers, and leaders for the future.


San Francisco Environment Department

SF Environment Department has easy-to-use lesson plans and activity sheets available online. Topics range from packaging (reduce!) to compost (rot!).


Do the Rot Thing: A Teacher’s Guide to Compost Activities

A collection of hands-on compost education activities which encourage student exploration and learning, from Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District, Montpelier, Vermont, originally published by the Alameda Countyh Waste Management Authorit & Source Reduction and Recycling Board.


The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse

This East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse promotes solid waste diversion and resource conservation through the Depot store and community education programs. It is a business devoted to reusing everyday items and materials for artistic and other means. This is a great resource for teachers, artists and anyone with a little creativity.

The East Bay Depot collects unwanted materials from businesses, manufacturers and individuals and makes them available to teachers, artists, community groups and the public for reuse. The Depot helps reduce waste by helping items that would ordinarily end up in the landfill to be reused.

The Depot hosts field trips, workshops and an annual “Trash to Treasure” art competition.


Visit their webpage on Teacher Resources for the Green Collaborator Program.


KIDS for the BAY – Programs for Elementary Schools

Access the Kids for the Bay website for several hands-on science learning, connecting students with nature, empowering students to become active environmentalists and provide professional development and ongoing support for partner classroom teachers. 


Kids for the Bay – Blue Watershed Classrooms Program

The Blue Watershed Classrooms Program will inspire and support classroom teachers who have previously participated in a KIDS for the BAY program in developing a watershed- friendly, Zero-Waste classroom community.

“Humans can be a part of a healthy watershed too, especially if we’re working together to keep it clean!”
Nick, Fourth Grade Student, Ohlone Elementary School, Hercules


Looking for some fun facts? Need more information on how to compost? Then check out the many books, videos and other resources at our local West County libraries. Both the City of Richmond and Contra Costa County libraries have tons of books on garbage, recycling and composting. Check ’em out!


Additionally, teachers may wish to show a video tour of the RecycleMore facility and other educational videos found here.

Other Free Recycling Curriculums

Otherwise, an abundance of free recycling curriculums can be found online.

Create your next lesson plan using one of the following resources:

Grades K-6

Dem-Con’s Green Grades
Videos by this Minnesota landfill company show how various components of residential and industrial waste are processed at the landfill so that they can be recycled into new materials. Lessons and activities are broken down into grades K-2, 3-5, and 6+.

Grades 1-5

Ranger Rick Educator’s Guides
The National Wildlife Federation offers a collection of classroom guides for educators to use to teach from the children’s magazine Ranger Rick. Topics range from wildlife and habitat to trash and pollution.


Grades 4-12

can manufacturers instituteCan Manufacturers Institute
Three separate curricula for grades 4-6, 6-9 and 9-12 that emphasize the importance of recycling and environmentally responsible behavior.

Grades 6-12

I Want to Be Recycled logoI Want to Be Recycled
Educational game and fact sheets for grades 6-12 highlighting economic resource value and strategy of collecting and sorting recyclables.

Grades K-12

EPAUnited States Environmental Protection AgencyA vast array of lesson plans, games, quizzes, videos, projects, activities and community service ideas.

ca eeiCalifornia Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI)More than 80 science and history-social science units that highlight environmental relationships and encourage critical thinking.

teacher visionTeacher Vision
Green activities, articles, slideshows and more, organized by grade level.

education worldEducation WorldThis site offers links to more than 40 recycling activities and resources for various grade levels.

neaNational Education AssociationEarth Day-themed lessons, projects, activities and games for grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

isriInstitute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. and JASON Learning
Posters, lesson plans and web-based experiences about recycling for grades K-4, 5-8 and 9-12.

recycling simplifiedRecycling Simplified
Educational recycling videos, infographic posters and lesson plans for grades 1-5 and 6-12.