Educational Resources and Activities

Educational Resources

    CVWMA is all about regional recycling education. Visit us on Pinterest too. Check out these some of these online educational resources and activities for students in kindergarten through high school include:

    Educational Resources

    50 Interesting Recycling Facts

    Recycling matters. This blog offers 50 interesting recycling facts. We all can rethink waste and reduce our impact. Visit blog.   

    Recycle Right With CVWMA

    Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. The CVWMA website is a plethora of information on recycling and solid waste management programs offered to residents that live within CVWMA’s 13 member local governments service area. Visit website.   

    Journey To the MRF

    CVWMA staff worked with TFC Recycling, Richmond Flying Squirrels (Nutzy),  R3, Jonathan Austin and Matt McClain, CBS 6 to create this video/virtual “field trip” inside TFC’s Material Recovery Facility (or MRF) located in Chester, VA.  Watch video.  

    How Recycling Works

    Watch how garbage can be recycled and made into new things instead of being landfilled by SciShowKids. Watch video.

    Recycle Aluminum & Steel Cans

    Aluminum cans and steel cans are recyclables forever! Watch Discovery/Science Channel video on process for making aluminum cans. Watch video.

    How Stuff Works- Recycling Aluminum – watch video.  

    Recycle Glass Bottles & Jars

    NPR’s “How a Used Bottle Becomes a New Glass Bottle”. *Watch video. (Permission given by NPR) 

    Recycle Cardboard and Mixed Paper

    True/False or Multiple Choice Questions.

Recycle Plastic Bottles and Jars

Great videos on how plastic bottles are used to make new bottles and even carpet.

Recycle Food & Beverage Cartons

 Video by Carton Council and recycling cartons. on how plastic bottles are used to make new bottles and even carpet.

  • The Sounds of Recycling: What Will Your Carton Become?: Watch video  (Permission by Carton Council) 

Items Not Accepted for Recycling

What are items that cannot be recycled through residential and drop-off recycling programs through CVWMA.

  • Plastic Bags. Please recycle at local retail stores.
  • Styrofoam
  • Food contaminated items

How to Recycle with CVWMA

CVWMA’s is a residential program. The recycling and solid waste management programs are offered to residents that live within CVWMA’s 13 member local governments service area. Visit website.

Closing The Loop on Recycling

Activities such as Watershed Matching Game and activities on Point vs. Non Point Source Pollution.

Natural Resources & Your Watershed

Do you know your watershed address? We encourage you to contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District to see if they have a Certified Watershed Educator that provides free natural resources, water pollution, watersheds in Virginia  classroom programs and activities.

Journey Through the Landfill with Virginia Trekkers

  Watch to see where your trash goes?  Watch video.

Environment Education Resources: Litterati and Daily STEM

Check out these resources TED-ED created for World Cleanup Day 2020.

  • Fast Food (K-12 Lesson Plans). Discover how much litter gets created by fast food packaging that people buy every day where you live. What solutions can you come up with to reduce waste created by packaging?
  • What is Litter? After a litter cleanup, use the Litterati App tagging function to learn about different categories of litter and the difference between litter vs. waste. Check out the Litterati app challenges K-12, too.
  • Creative Writing: Every piece of litter has a story.
  • These resources are designed for school, classroom, home school, or self directed learning. Visit

A Landfill is No Dump!

Landfills are the most common forms of waste disposal and are an important component of an integrated waste management system. A landfill is a large area of land that is specifically designed and built to receive municipal solid waste. “Where does your trash go?” Find out, if you don’t know by visiting your local landfill or view online a “virtual tour” of the Henrico County Springfield Road Landfill Podcast #42 by the Virginia Trekkers. What would your family do if your trash was not picked up every week? What would happen to your garbage (and the garbage of everyone else in your area) if the landfill closed? What happens to a landfill when it is full? What does it mean to recycle and why it is important to keep recycables out of landfills? How long does it take for different items to decompose?

Download now!

Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: Facts and Figures

Everything you would ever want to know about solid waste from the US EPA.

Download now!

Educational Materials on Solid Waste

Visit Site

Trash, Trash and More Trash- An Overview

In this lesson students will investigate a bag of trash to find out how much of the contents of the bag actually needs to go to the landfill. Students will create two class posters that show which items are recycable and which ones are not. They will complete a math activity to determine how many bags of trash their families generate.

Download now!

A Trashy Timeline: Where Does our Garbage Go?

We all make way too much garbage. According to the US EPA Americans generate about 4.5 pounds of garbage (trash) everyday. Landfills keep filling up and people/local governments keep looking for more places to dispose of all of that garbage.

Download now!

Virginia Trekkers

Visit Virginia

The Virginia Trekkers are Henrico County (VA) Public Schools technology educators that “trek” across Virginia creating hands-on learning and “virtual field trips” for students (and adults) on a variety of subjects. Their website offers a plethora of subject materials complete with video and online lessons.

CVWMA was most fortunate to partner with the “Trekkers” on two videos.

Podcast #17 is a partnership with TFC Recycling and CVWMA  lets you see firsthand how items collected at the curb or a CVWMA drop-off collection site are taken to a local “MRF” (Materials Recovery Facility) to be sorted and processed so that new materials can be made from recyclables. (Note: CVWMA now accepts more items than we did when this video was made.)

View Virginia Trekkers Podcast # 17 (Recycling)

Podcast # 42 and its companion Journey Through a Landfill activity guide is a partnership with CVWMA, Henrico County Department of Public Utilities/Division of Solid Waste and Recycling,  and Keep Henrico Beautiful. The Virginia Trekkers will show viewers what happens to your trash after you throw it in the garbage can/cart. See where all it goes!

Students can see where their garbage goes as well as what items could be recycled. No one really knows if glass takes a million years to decompose. It is an educated guess. By doing this exercise with relative decompostion times, students will create a visual representation of the time it takes for various waste items left in a landfill to breakdown or decompose. It will get them to start thinking about all of their “stuff”. Discover how trash is turned into electricity and learn what you can do to reduce the amount of garbage/trash you send to the landfill. It’s an exciting place with lots to explore! Don’t miss the Trekkers interactive “Building a Landfill” activity as well as the phethora of educational links provided at the top header of the Podcast.

View Virginia Trekkers Podcast # 42 (Henrico Landfill)

Henrico Landfill Video 42

The Quest for Less: Activities and Resources for Teaching K-8

  • This resource provides downloadable hands-on lessons and activities, enrichment ideas, journal writing assignments, and other educational tools related to preventing and reusing waste.
Visit Site

Educator’s Guide to Planning a Field Day Event

  • An innovative, easy and fun way to incorporate environmental learning, creative thinking and physical education in an SOL-based one-day event. We also have 30 Buddy Style stations that is easy to incorporate.
Download Now!

Buy, Use, Toss- A Closer Look at the Things We Buy Education Curriculum

  • 9-12th grades (free download)
  • Buy, Use, Toss? A Closer Look at the Things We Buy is an interdisciplinary unit that includes ten fully-planned lessons. This unit is correlated with national science and social studies standards and will lead your students through an exploration of the system of producing and consuming goods that is called the materials economy. Students will learn about the five major steps of the materials economy; Extraction, Production, Distribution, Consumption, and Disposal. They will also be asked to analyze the sustainability of these steps, determining how consumption can benefit people, economies, and environments
Visit Site

Recycling Partnership K-5 Recycling Curriculum

Offers recycling curriculum grades K-5 that can be downloaded from their website for teaching the importance of recycling to our future recyclers.

Visit Site

Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI) Educational Curriculum

Visit Site

NASA’s Climate Kids: Recycle This!

Explore NASA’s STEM website.  Also, they have recycle game, If you throw a plastic bottle in the trash today, the bottle will sit in a landfill- or worse, float in the ocean-for thousands of years. Use the “Airburst” tool to guide the recyclables into the proper bins before they fall into the trash created by NASA’s Climate Kids. Click here to play game.

Visit Site

Preschool Recycling Activity

Keep Henrico Beautiful (KHB) created this easy recycling lesson that is perfect for preschool and kindergarden age children. For instructions and patterns, click here

Visit Site

Tissue Company Offers FREE Lessons for Teachers

Marcel Manufacturing LLC, which makes 100% recycled tissue products, is offering free lesson plans to help teach students about waste, recycling, climate change and deforestation.

Visit Site


Access more than 350 pages of educational materials. Teachers will find lesson plans and activities on ecology, recycling, and global warming as well as ideas for celebrating earth Day.

Visit Site

Students Guide to Composting

Composting in the Classroom: Scientific Inquiry for High School Students, by Nancy Trautmann and Marianne Krasny, is a comprehensive guide for teachers interested in guiding composting research projects by high school students.

Visit Site

PLT’s Exploring Environmental Issues: Municipal Solid Waste

The module uses hands-on experiences to show the interrelationships among waste generation, natural resource use, and disposal. The activities guide students through waste management strategies and solutions while providing the necessary tools to make informed decisions and choices on waste management issues.

Visit Site

 Living in Your Watershed

Learn about the watershed that you live in and how simple actions that you can easily do to to take care of it.

Visit Site

Air & Waste Management

Download free lesson plans from the Air & Waste Management Association.  Topics include air pollution, water pollution and landfills.

Visit Site