October 13, 2018

Recycling and Reusing Plastic

Grade Level: K-5

Activity Overview: Recycling is making a material ready for reuse in a new form. Reusing is when you find another purpose for an already existing object. For example, when you use an empty glass jar as a drinking glass, that is reuse.

TEKS: VI.C.4, SCI.K.1B, SCI.1.1B, SCI.2.1B. SCI.3.1B, SCI.4.1B, SCI.5.1B

Time: Varies based on activity.

Plastic is everywhere. It is the cup that you drink out of, the straw in your drink and the chair that you sit on. Plastic can be very useful and important, and it comes in many forms. Some of these forms are used often and for many years, while others are used only once and then disposed of.

Many types of plastic are recyclable, while other, softer, forms of plastic are not. 

Some forms of plastic are used temporarily and disposed of after only one use. While most of these are not recyclable, there are strategies to be resourceful with how you use these items.

  • When you order a drink, ask for it without a straw or bring your own reusable straw with you.
  • Avoid using plastic or paper grocery bags at the store. Instead, bring your own reusable bags with you. Keeping your reusable bags in your vehicle with you will help you have them available when you need them.
  • Instead of using a disposable water bottle, bring your own reusable water bottle. If you do use a disposable water bottle, make sure that you recycle it when you are done.
  • Putting your lunch in reusable containers or bags, instead of one-use plastic bags, can help decrease the amount of plastic waste that you produce.

Where Does Plastic End Up?

More than three-quarters of all plastic ends up in landfills, where it can take decades or even centuries to degrade. When plastic is littered, instead of being discarded correctly, it can also end up in the ocean, affecting marine life. When plastic is recycled it can be reused, saving materials, energy, money and the environment.


  • Make Your Own Reusable Shopping Bag
  • Decorate A Reusable Shopping Bag