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Super recycler

Activity opa at home super recycler hero

This activity tests your recycling prowess! Are you a super recycler? Recycling is just one way that plastic can be kept out of the waste stream. However, with 39 recycling schemes in place in just the UK, do you know what can be recycled and what can’t?

Ages 6+

(adult supervision)

20 minutes


Recycling is one of the 6 Rs that help to reduce plastic waste and its impact on the environment, but it is actually the least favourable option at the moment. It is much better to reduce, refuse or reuse plastic if you can.

Recycling technologies are improving, but they still involve energy and resources. The recycled plastic is also likely to be of a lower quality than its original form, meaning it can only be used for lower grade purposes and may become waste quite quickly.

With nearly 40 domestic recycling schemes in place in the UK, it can also be hard to know what should be placed in the recycling bin and what should not.

This activity will help you to improve your recycling knowledge and skills. Try investigating how well you are currently recycling by taking the local recycling challenge. Then see how much you know about recycling with the quiz!

Activity steps
  1. Gather as many used plastic items as possible in your house that you think can be recycled. (Remember all recycled items should be washed properly).
  2. Check your local authority website and see what it says can be recycled. For example, here is where to find information for London.
  3. Can all the plastic that you thought could be recycled actually be recycled? How many of the plastic that you use each week cannot actually be recycled?
  4. You can also use the Super-recycler cards if you don’t wish to get the rubbish out on the kitchen table.
  5. Remember that all recycling should be cleaned anyway.
  6. Inspire your friends and family to up their recycling game by sharing this activity online. Please don’t forget to tag us @commonseas and use the hashtag #SeaChampions. Thank you.
Further ideas

Try monitoring the amount of plastic you use every week that cannot be recycled using the Plastic bin weigh-in activity.

To develop learning further try some of the full lessons from the Ocean Plastics Academy. There are lessons for all ages 5 to 14. From Ocean Plastics Cross-curricular | Ages 5-7, try the lesson Where are plastics?. For older primary students aged 7 to 11, use lessons What can I do? Part one and Part two . For ages 11 to 14, use the geography aligned lessons, How we deal with all the plastic waste? and The global journey of plastic waste.

Safety guidance
  • Some items of recycling may have sharp edges and so take care if this is the case. There shouldn’t be any issues with dirty items as all recycling should be cleaned so as not to contaminate recycling.
  • If you are posting work on social media, this should be done via a parent, guardian or school account for children under the age of 13. Children over the age of 13 should still be supervised by an adult. Check out the Thinkuknow website for more guidance on online safety.

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