photo: DoSomething

Teach Teens to Recycle With This Creative Campaign

Bethany Radcliff


Editor's note: After reading Could His Hip-Hop Save the Earth?, your students will be inspired by our March Changemaker, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who uses his own hip-hop songs to spread awareness about climate change and environmental activism. Use DoSomething's Rinse, Recycle, Repeat campaign to put their inspiration into action in time for Earth Day on April 22. 


Most teens know that recycling is important but sometimes aren't sure where to begin. That's where DoSomething's amazing Rinse, Recycle, Repeat campaign can come in. Launched in collaboration with hair-care brand Garnier, TerraCycle (a free waste collection service for hard-to-recycle items), and YouTuber Remi Cruz (a lifestyle personality and vlogger known for her popular channels MissRemiAshten and RemLife), this campaign offers a simple, creative project to engage teens with advocacy and environmental issues through recycling. The best part: Your students can enter to win a $5,000 scholarship for their participation!


What you need to complete this project:

- Cardboard boxes, large shoe boxes, or any other boxes that can serve as a recycling bin

- Glue or tape to decorate boxes

- Materials for decoration, like fake flowers, recycled magazines, paper scraps that can be cut into shapes, and any other craft supplies you have lying around the classroom. (This can be a great opportunity to use up bits and pieces you were going to toss!)


Here's how you and your students can get started:


Step 1: Visit the DoSomething campaign page for Rinse, Recycle, Repeat from March 1-April 30 and instruct students to sign up for the campaign. Students can also text Rinse to 38383 to sign up. 


Step 2: Share the telling facts with students: According to the campaign, almost half of all Americans just toss their empty bathroom bottles (aka #empties) in the trash. These beauty and personal care products account for much of the waste in landfills across the country. 


Step 3: Get teens involved in this creative project by sharing the campaign's teen-facing PSA with students. Provide cardboard boxes and materials for decoration, and have students break into groups to work on their creative recycling bins (even if students are working in groups, have them create their own boxes.) If you don't have time to complete the project during class time, have students make their boxes at home. 




Step 4: Once students have their boxes decorated (or have instructions for making boxes at home), encourage students to rinse and recycle, repeating this process to collect as many empty product containers as they can! If you're doing the project in class, try making it into a competition between individuals or groups, and have students race to collect as many recyclable #empties as they can from family, friends, and neighbors by April 30!


Step 5: Students can submit a picture of their decorated recycling bin on the campaigns "Prove It" page or by texting RINSE to 38383 to be entered for a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship. They can also join the online campaign conversation by tagging @garnierUSA and using the #empties and #RRRSweepstakes hashtags.


Step 6: After students have collected ten pounds of recyclable materials and posted an image of it on the "Prove It" page, a free shipping label will be e-mailed to them, making it easy to send their recyclables to TerraCycle to be responsibly disposed of.


For more on teens and the environment, be sure to check out these Choices stories:

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