This is a simple starter activity that will encourage the group to start thinking about what is waste and what they throw away.


You will need:

  • Sticky notes
  • Pens
  • Whiteboard or flipchart paper
  • Greater Manchester bin colours information sheet


How to do the activity

Ask each person to write down an item of waste on a sticky note of something they get rid of or no longer want, or throw away from their home. Encourage them to think about different rooms or times of the day that waste is created. Aim for about 30 sticky notes to generate a decent discussion so if your group is smaller, they could fill more in each.

Divide up a whiteboard or flipchart paper into four sections. Write the following titles:

  • paper and card bin
  • food and garden bin
  • mixed recycling bin
  • general waste bin

Ask each person to come and place their sticky note in the correct section.
It may soon be noticed that they may have written something that does not fit into one of those categories for example an old fridge or coat.

Use this opportunity to have a discussion about what else you can do with things you no longer want. For example go to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (tip) or donate to charity or sell it.

Add these extra categories on the whiteboard or paper and continue posting the notes.

Refer to the Greater Manchester bin colours information sheet to ensure that each sticky note is placed correctly.


Extension activity

Ask individuals to identify the correct colour bin that they have at home for each of the waste category’s. Refer to the Greater Manchester bin colours information sheet.


Memory game (extension or differentiated activity)

This can be used for lower ability groups or to encourage more waste items to be identified.

In groups, the first person starts by saying “I looked in my rubbish and I saw a drinks can..”. The next person continues by repeating the first person’s item and adds one of their own. Each person has to remember what has gone before and adds their own. Encourage the group to come up with new waste items not previously identified on the sticky note activity.


Learning objective

Individuals will be able to describe the enormous breadth of items that are thrown away or classed as waste and that they can be divided into different categories.


Greater Manchester Bin Colours Information Sheet