How to make recycling fun: recycling games and upcycling ideas

How to make recycling fun

Recycling is important. That’s a given. But is recycling fun? For certain members of your household, it might never match the excitement of covering themselves and the new sofa in as much chocolate ice cream as possible, but there certainly are ways to make it a more enjoyable task – like these recycling games for adults and kids! 

When you know how to make recycling fun it’ll help get everyone in your household into the recycling habit, and that’s a brilliant way to reduce your carbon footprint and do your bit for the environment. 

The fun recycling ideas and recycling games we’ll explore in this article are guaranteed to get little ones and adults stuck into the act of recycling, all while teaching them the importance of sustainable practices! Our recycling games include: 

  • A fun recycling scavenger hunt 
  • The recycling sorting game 
  • Upcycling craft ideas 
  • Recycling games for taking it out 
  • Fun recycling challenges and rewards 

Teaching kids to be more eco-aware doesn’t have to be difficult. These fun recycling games and activities can be a gentle and playful way to teach future generations about eco-responsibility without making the concept of sustainability daunting or scary! So, let’s make recycling fun with these recycling games and upcycling ideas! 

Fun recycling scavenger hunt 

It’s Saturday afternoon and the little ones have done their very best jobs scattering building block after cuddly toy after empty snack box and more, everywhere. Time to gather it all up. Sound like a chore? Then let’s make it into a recycling game for kids to take part in and they’ll focus on the fun and forget about the work. What better way to do this than with a scavenger hunt? 

There are a couple of options for these games for recycling. You could either give each person the same list of different recyclable items, and they have to find at least one of each type, or they could have a specific category to collect. Add to the competitive spirit by seeing who can complete their list fastest (for the former) or collect the most (for the latter).  

Want more fun family games that will entertain the whole family? Our chaotically fun games are sure to do just that! 

The recycling sorting game 

Separating the glass from the plastic from the cardboard can be a bit of a bind, but if you add a dash of competition into proceedings, as with this recycling sorting game, it becomes an opportunity for a win. And most of us like the chance to reign supreme. 

This fun recycling competition can be made age-appropriate by leaving the less child-friendly items – like metal tins and glass – to the grownups. Plastic and paper/card are safer options for the younger ones. Then let the games begin: 

  1. Each person collects a particular category from the stash: plastic bottles, cardboard tubes from loo rolls or kitchen towel, cardboard boxes, drinks cans, etc.
  2. Set a time limit and see who can build the tallest tower with their items. 
  3. If using breakables like glass, or anything with a sharp edge like metal tins, see who can make the longest snake instead, so everything stays at floor level. 

Make recycling games like this even more enticing by letting each person choose the type of items they’ll collect and build with. When the competition’s over, everyone places their category of items into the relevant box/bin, and the separating is done.  

Crafty upcycling ideas

Fun ways to recycle don’t just have to involve collecting and sorting items into boxes to be taken away – they can also involve reusing those items at home. Lots of things can be used for craft activities, which not only stops them heading to landfill, but also saves money on buying craft materials... and keeps sticky fingers out of the ice cream tub, for now. It’s a win-win-win. 

Rather than recycling, arts and craft projects are a great way to repurpose and transform old or discarded materials into something new and useful, giving them a second life. Engaging in creative projects not only makes upcycling enjoyable but also promotes sustainability and reduces waste. Spark your imagination with these upcycling craft ideas: 

  • Repurpose old glass bottles into decorative vases or candle holders 
  • Build bird feeders or nesting boxes using scrap wood or plastic containers 
  • Desk tidies made from tissue boxes 
  • Christmas decorations 
  • Robots made from cardboard boxes 
  • Toy snakes made from kitchen paper tubes 
  • Turn worn-out clothes into trendy fashion pieces or reusable shopping bags 
  • Terrariums made from glass jars 
  • Garden party decorations 
  • Figures made from toilet roll/kitchen paper tubes 
  • Boats made from plastic bottles 
  • Create unique and personalised jewellery from discarded buttons, bottle caps, or beads 
  • Transform wooden pallets into stylish furniture or outdoor planters 
  • Give new life to empty tin cans by converting them into pencil holders or kitchen organisers 
  • Design colourful mosaic artwork using broken ceramic tiles or pieces of glass 

The possibilities are endless when it comes to upcycling craft ideas. You can involve the whole family, encouraging creativity and a sense of accomplishment. By giving new purpose to old items, you not only reduce waste but also add a touch of uniqueness and personal flair to your space. 


After recycling your household waste, it could even come back into your home in a new form. The packaging of Plenty kitchen roll made with 33% post-consumer recycled plastic, which also helps to reduce its carbon footprint!

Recycling games for taking it out 

Once the recycling has been gathered up and separated there comes the time it has to be taken out for kerbside collection. This can be made more fun with a simple relay race. Everything’s quicker when we work as a team, and assigning one person to each part of the journey from kitchen to kerb will make the job more enjoyable and get it done faster. 

Finding recycling games for adults and kids to take part in together helps keep the process safe and age-appropriate. While your chocolate-covered five-year-old can carry a small box of cardboard and paper from the kitchen to the front door, you probably wouldn’t want them grappling with the big recycling bin outside – that’s a job for the older members of the household. 

Fun recycling challenges and rewards 

To make recycling fun, you can introduce challenges and rewards into the process. The concept of incentives will be familiar to virtually everyone; we’re incentivised one way or another in many walks of life. Here are a few ideas for how to make recycling fun: 

  • Recycling bingo. Create a bingo card with various recyclable items, such as plastic bottles, tin cans, or cardboard boxes. Each time someone in your house correctly sorts an item for recycling, they can mark it off on their card. Offer a small prize or treat for completing a line or the entire card. 
  • Recycling streak. Challenge family members to maintain a recycling streak by consistently sorting waste for recycling for a certain number of days or weeks. Celebrate milestones with a special outing, movie night, or a fun activity! 
  • Eco-friendly awards. Recognise and reward individuals who consistently practice eco-friendly habits. Offer "Green Champion" certificates or badges to family members who consistently recycle.  

The fun doesn’t have to stop at recycling! 

It’s not just recycling that can be turned into a fun game for the family, oh no. If you’ve got a compost bin (nice one!) then you can also have some very muddy fun (the best kind!) with the kids by sorting through what is and isn’t compostable. Plus, getting kids involved in composting is a great way to give kids mucky hands for a good reason, and not just because they love to make a mess. (It’s why we love them, right!) 

If you haven’t got a compost bin, don’t fret! There’s no time like the present. Read our guide on the basics of composting and both you and your family will be pros in no time at all! 


Plenty Originall kitchen roll sheets are now certified compostable!* Now, once you’ve used your compostable sheets on a compostable mess, you can toss them right onto the compost heap!

Want to know more about Plenty’s compostable kitchen roll sheets? Check out the answers to your frequently asked questions. 

Remember, recycling doesn't have to be dull! By incorporating these fun recycling games and activities into your recycling routine, you can inspire enthusiasm, creativity, and a positive environmental impact. Let's make recycling fun and an enjoyable and rewarding experience for everyone! 


We’re working towards reducing the carbon footprint of our packaging** further and further, whilst committing to a goal of 100% of our packaging being recyclable and the use of 85% renewable or recycled materials in our packaging by 2025. Learn more about our sustainability commitments.

With these tips on how to make recycling fun you can make it a game, rather than a chore. And the more fun ways to recycle you introduce, the more likely everyone will get involved.  

*Plenty kitchen towels are certified as home and industrially compostable according to NF T 50-800 and EN14995. 

**Carbon footprint reduction of the packaging due to use of recycled plastics vs. our previous packaging made with fossil based plastics, based on Life Cycle Assessments conducted by Essity and verified by a third party. 

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