Waste Relay Race

Age group: 6-15

This page provides you with a snapshot of this activity that challenges students to understand different types of waste and how to segregate. Do you know your waste? Compete with your classmates to separate waste as fast as possible. Separating your waste into the correct bins means more waste can be recycled. Recycling more reduces pollution and fights 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 paper, plastic, metal, glass and organic
  • Learn to separate waste items into different categories

Whole class

  • A variety of waste items for each of the categories (refer to the list of suggested waste items). Collect at least 10-15 waste items per team.
  • The class needs 6 waste bins or cardboard boxes with bin labels (paper, plastic, metal, glass, mixed/ non-recyclable and organic), plus a box for each team. A class of 20 students divided into 4 groups needs 10 boxes in total.
  • Set of different coloured stickers/ markers to label the waste items and cardboard boxes (each team has to have a different colour)

1 class period
(approximately 40 – 45 minutes)

Skills used:

Motor/physical skills
Problem solving




Collect at least 10-15 waste items per group from the suggested list of waste items below. Collect the same number and type of items for each group so that it is a fair competition. Make sure that the items are clean (wash if possible) and that none of the items are sharp or dangerous.

Suggested waste items list:

Plastic: thin plastic bag, thick plastic bag, PET water bottle, shampoo bottle, milk packet, toothpaste tube, curd/ice cream hard plastic container, plastic bottle cap.
Paper: newspaper, old books, used notebooks, crumpled paper, coloured paper, brown paper bag, cardboard, A4 used paper.
Metal: cans (food/drink), bottle cap, piece of wire, used aluminium foil.
Glass: bottles, jam jars, small jars.
Organic: some dead leaves, grass and twigs, banana peel, used tea bag, flowers.
Mixed waste: chips packet, old shoes, old chappals, old school bag, cloth rags, rubber tyre.


  • Prepare a box of waste items for each team, with each box having the same number and type of items.
  • Ensure that each team has waste items that fit within all the six different categories: plastic, paper, metal, glass, organic, mixed/nonrecyclable.
  • Label the waste items and corresponding boxes with different coloured markers or stickers. In the end, each team should be assigned a coloured box with colour-coded items (e.g. orange box with orange labelled items, blue box with blue labelled items, etc.).
  • Create your own labels and stick them on the six waste bins.

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Lesson plan (English)
Lesson plan (Tamil)