Waste Reduction

Reduce Waste in your Centre

This eco-focus is all about reducing waste in your centre using the 5 R’s. A good place to start is re-purposing waste items into other things through our FUNcycling competition. There are also lots of other activities below! Let’s get your centre refusing, reducing, reusing, recycling and rotting!

Early Years Learning Framework

Learning Outcomes: 

2.4 – Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment

4.1 – Children develop dispositions for learning 


5. Ongoing learning and reflective practice


3. Learning through play



Various waste items depending on upcycling activities chosen



30 minutes for educational components – STEP 1 and 2

1 to 2 hours for upcycling activities – STEP 3 

Step 1 - What are the 5 R's

Teach children about the 5 R’s of waste reduction: refuse, reduse, reuse, recycle and rot. Here are some helpful videos and resources to share with your children:

Step 2 - 5 R's Hand Signal Activity

To help them remember what each of the 5 R’s mean, get children to come up with a hand signal or action for each word. We have an educational poster to help your teaching and some examples of hand signals or actions below. 

Step 3 - FUNcycling!

Create new items from things that would otherwise end up in the bin! There are plenty of ways to upcycle rubbish items and we have collated some ideas in the guide below: 

Or, get creative and think of new ways to upcycle rubbish items commonly found in your centre. You might even like to hold a market stall for your community to sell your upcycled goods. 

Step 4 - Submission

We want to see your trash-tastic upcycled items! Send us photos of the items your children have created and tell us what trash items were used to create the new product. 

The centre with the best entry will win an EcoMarines team visit and presentation along with with a waste and recycling game set and a story book. 

CHALLENGE: Containers for Change

Does your centre have a containers for change refund scheme? If not, then this might be a challenge for you!

Step 1

Set up and area in your centre where kids and staff can put their empty bottles and containers. 

Step 2

Educate your kids and staff about what can and cannot go in the containers for change bin! 

Step 3

Get your Centre using the bin! 

Once your bin is full, choose what to do with the funds! These could be put towards an environmental project in the centre, a local charity or anything else you choose. EcoMarines is a registered charity with Containers for Change and we would welcome any donations to help us grow! Our code is C10041492 if you would like to donate.

The Containers for Change website has more information on what type of containers are accepted, and where to return them.

Step 4

Create a poster with your kids about the items allowed in the bin! 


Activities about Waste Reduction & Litter

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