Waste Relay Race

With Printed Cards
Age group: 6-15

This page provides you with a snapshot of this activity that challenges students to learn about the different types of waste and how to separate them into their respective categories. Do you know your waste? The aim of this activity is to compete with your classmates to separate cards with pictures of common waste items into the correct waste bins as quickly as possible. Separating your waste into the correct bins means that more waste can be recycled. By recycling more you reduce pollution and help fight climate change. Run fast, separate correctly, and have fun playing a relay race to save the planet.

We recommend that you use the ‘Introduction to Solid Waste’ activity before any of the other activities as it is a good starting point for students to learn about waste and provides a comprehensive overview of how waste is generated and its impacts on animals, the environment and us. If you have already done so and wish to continue to download the rest of this free activity please click on the download icon below. Enjoy!

  • Recognise the importance of waste separation and recycling
  • Understand the different waste categories such as biodegradable waste, recyclable waste and non-recyclable waste
  • Learn to separate waste items into different categories

Whole class (up to 40 students)

  • 5 A3 sheets containing 120 cards depicting waste items
  • 3 waste bins or cardboard boxes with labels (biodegradable waste, recyclable waste and non-recyclable waste)

1 class period
(approximately 45-45 minutes)

Skills used:

Motor/physical skills
Problem solving




  1. Print out the set of 120 Waste Relay Race cards either in colour or in black & white. Preferably use thick paper so the cards will last longer.
  2. Cut out the cards and sort them by colour into 4 stacks. The cards show different kinds of waste items. You can see below which waste items fall under which recycling category.

Waste Items List

(The following information is meant ONLY for teachers to check if the cards depicting waste items have been sorted correctly.)
Biodegradable waste: fruit peels, hair, dust from sweeping, egg shell, leftover food and garden waste.
Recyclable waste: glass jar, caps and lids, aluminium foil, aluminium can, broken glass, milk and oil packets, plastic container, cardboard box, newspaper, PET water bottle and coloured paper.
Non-recyclable waste: band aids, rubber tyre, tissue paper, Thermocol (polystyrene), chips packet, dish sponge, school bag, footwear, Tetra Pak, cloth, broken ceramic mug, batteries and headphones.


  1. Label each of your 3 waste bins or cardboard boxes with the following: biodegradable waste, recyclable waste and non-recyclable waste. Make sure the waste bins are not dirty.
  2. Use a large empty space for the relay race, either an empty classroom or outdoors. When the weather is not suitable outside, move tables and chairs to the side of the classroom to have more free space.
  3. Place the waste bins at equal distances along one end of the room (it is important that all students can see the different labels on the bins). Make sure that the bins are not too close together so that it is easy for students to access them.

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Lesson plan (English)

A3 set of 120 coloured Relay Race Cards

A3 set of 120 black & white Relay Race Cards