Free Recycling Kickoff Event Guide and Resources

Everything you need to plan an amazing event!

Free Recycling Kickoff Event Guide and Resources


Ready to get started with Recycle Rally? Use this free Recycling Kickoff Event Guide to get going! You’ll also find a printable banner, customizable invitation, and email template to make things easier.




Recycle Rally Kickoff Event Guide


Recycling Kickoff Event Guide Banner


We call it Recycle Rally for a reason. With so many wonderful reasons to recycle, there’s no reason your whole school shouldn’t be rallying with excitement when you explain to them how easy it is to recycle and how much of a positive impact it can make on your school, community, and planet.


This guide will help you develop a memorable event that will inspire your audience to recycle throughout the school year and even into the rest of their lives. Make your event great by learning who, what, when, where, how, and, perhaps most importantly, why.




WHY hold a recycling kickoff event?

In order for your event to hit the mark and kick off your program successfully, be sure you determine clear objective(s) for hosting it. Knowing what you are trying to accomplish can help you streamline the rest of your planning, simplify the recruiting of volunteers to help, and make for a more meaningful event.


Below are some possible goals for a Recycle Rally Kickoff Event. Review them and choose the ones that would best apply at your school:

  • Inform the school of your involvement in Recycle Rally and encourage all to participate.
  • Boost awareness of your school’s ability to recycle and explain how and where to do it.
  • Inspire and enlist interested students to become directly involved with helping lead your recycling program or “green team.”
  • Educate students about the reasons to recycle.
  • Communicate a series of steps or actions you can take together to increase your recycling rate.
  • Construct or decorate new recycling bins or signs to expand your ability to recycle.
  • Introduce a slogan, such as “Bottles and cans are useful again, please throw them in the correct bin,” to create a culture of accountability so students help police each other.
  • Capture feedback from your attendees on how to best keep them involved and motivated in recycling.
  • Introduce an intra-school contest between grades or classes to make recycling more fun and exciting for the students.
  • Communicate a recycling goal for the school and show everyone how they can help achieve it:
    • Participation rate – % of students involved
    • Earn enough Recycle Rally rewards points to redeem for _____
    • # of bottles, cans (consider stating this on a per-student basis)
    • # of pounds of recyclables (consider equating it to the weight of something significant within your school)


Why recycle?

  • Protects our natural environment
  • Avoids filling up landfills
  • Reduces energy and greenhouse gases
  • Conserves our resources
  • Helps our economy
  • Creates jobs


Tips for reviewing your goals

Make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew in the amount of time that you’ll have for your event. Simplifying down to just 1, 2, or 3 core messages is usually more effective than trying to convey too much!


Consider what your biggest challenges and needs are in order to make your recycling program a success. What will leave a lasting impression on the students that you can refer back to throughout the year to re-invigorate them?


If you share a goal, try to make sure it’s S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Timebound. This will help the students to feel empowered to help achieve it!



WHO can get involved in your recycling kickoff event?

Consider who to involve directly in the event and whether they should have speaking roles. If so, make sure they each have a unique point to share.


School and Administration

  • Recycle Rally Leader(s).
  • Recycle Rally Supporter(s): Other faculty, staff, and parents who will be helping out with encouraging and handling recycling.
  • Sponsor(s): Administrators who will help reinforce your recycling agenda.
  • Green Team members/Student Leaders: Students who will be directly involved in handling, tracking, and/or promoting recycling within your school.

TIP: Consider inviting a science-minded teacher to conduct a demonstration or experiment on stage to show the value of recycling!


Community Members

  • Representatives from your local recycling center or hauler to share information about the importance or the process of recycling.
  • Local businesses that might be able to share first-hand experience about why recycling is important/easy/effective.
  • Local organizations or clubs that are involved in environmental causes (e.g., Keep America Beautiful has local affiliate offices in many communities, and they are often willing to attend events and share knowledge.)
  • Staff from your food service or custodial crews to help explain what’s recyclable and how the cycle of recycling something can turn it back into something new again.
  • Representatives from your city or county sanitation, waste services or environmental services roles to share another perspective or conduct a demonstration.
  • A local entertainer (magician, musician, tumbler, etc.) who can incorporate recycling into their routine.


Event Planning Roles and Responsibilities

  • Assistants to help with the planning of the event.
  • Assistants to help demonstrate your main points during the event.
  • Calling the group to order when ready.
  • Promoting the event and building excitement via signage and word-of-mouth.
  • Boosting interest and excitement digitally via multimedia.
  • Managing audio-video during the event if necessary.
  • Taking photos or videos during the event.
  • Managing traffic flow in and out of the event and conducting headcounts if necessary.
  • Organizing and distributing props, supplies, and snacks before/during/after the event.


WHEN should you hold your event?

There’s never a bad time to host a recycling kickoff event, but there are some particularly great occasions, such as:

  • After your school signs up for Recycle Rally to let everyone know how they can get involved!
  • America Recycles Day: November 15th
  • Earth Day: April 22nd
  • Beginning of the school year
  • Beginning of a new semester
  • Tied to a holiday such as Valentine’s Day Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.
  • Tied to the beginning of a new season or time of year, such as start of fall, winter, or spring
  • Plays, choir performances, band concerts
  • During halftime of a sporting event
  • Field days
  • School open houses
  • School carnivals

TIP: Just because you select one particular occasion doesn’t mean that’s the only time your message is relevant. Consider re-introducing your message at other occasions to help reinforce it after your main event is over.


Time of Day

The best time of day will depend heavily on the age and routine of your students and also upon the goals of your event. Consider whether you want to send them off at the end of the day ready to tell their families about what they learned, or if you’d like to start off the day strong with an invigorating event to get them ready to learn.



WHERE should you hold your recycling kickoff event?


Based on the timing and constraints within your school, you may not have many choices for where to host your event. A gymnasium, auditorium, sports facility, or even a cafeteria can be great spaces for this type of event. However, depending on your event, it may make more sense to simply create smaller versions of your event in individual classrooms. If the weather is good, consider hosting it in an outdoor setting.


When you coordinate your location, be sure to consider the following:

  • Do you need access to speakers or a screen to display slideshows or videos?
  • Will everyone be able to hear?
  • Would it be best to show your audience where recycling bins are actually going to be located rather than moving them into an atypical location for the purpose of your event?
  • Does your room have the capacity to handle your entire group?
  • Does it make sense to break up the room into sections where groups can circulate around to different stations to keep them moving along to something new every few minutes?

TIP: Consider setting up interactive workstations or speakers in various parts of the room so the students can rotate from one location to another to keep it interesting.



WHAT do you need for your event?

Consider which props might help get your key points across:

  • Recycling Bins
  • Slideshows
  • Other Visual Aids – e.g., bottle shaped “thermometer” poster to fill in as you make progress toward a goal
  • Prizes/rewards to hand out for those who volunteer or express the most excitement
  • Refreshments or snacks (if you offer these, make sure they are recyclable or zero-waste if possible)
  • Activities or projects to complete during the event:
    • Assemble or decorate your own customized recycling bins from readily available materials to help make recycling more accessible
    • Ask students to decorate and sign pledge cards to commit to recycling as they enter or exit the event

TIP: If you don’t yet have enough Recycle Rally points to redeem for prizes, consider asking local businesses to provide some fun goodies to help promote your efforts and reward your students. Offer a simple group prize like a specially decorated recycling bin to the classroom or department that earns it.


Games to Play During Your Event

  • Recycling Bin Basketball: Add a hoop over your bin, and shoot for points!
  • Hopscotch Recycling: Tape a hopscotch court in front of a bin to make it more fun for students to hop on over and recycle.
  • Which Bin?: Bring recyclable materials and commonly confused non-recyclable materials. Ask students to identify which belong in the recycling bins vs. trash cans or other receptacles.
  • Recycle Bingo: Play and learn so many recycling facts!
  • Cornhole Recycling: Use bottles instead of bags and try to get them into the holes.


HOW should you run your event?


Establishing an agenda, or run-of-show

  • Develop your event’s agenda to maintain crowd interest by providing humor, shock value, and/or calls to action where appropriate.
  • Capture interest by sharing startling facts or shocking statistics.
  • Reiterate your key point(s) through repeating a slogan, chant, song, etc., that makes it clear and memorable.
  • Make it personal. Show your passion and make it contagious for others to care.
  • Invite audience participation. Ask them to repeat after you or to share their own perspectives about why recycling is important.
  • After you have informed and motivated everyone, do not forget to request something specific of them. Include a strong call to action!

TIP: Conduct a short skit to help drive your point home. If students can light-heartedly reference how things were handled during the skit, then they can more easily remind each other to recycle for the remainder of the year.


Promoting the event

  • Distribute invitations as appropriate.
  • Print and hang event invitations around the school.
  • Print and hang an event banner.
  • Post information about the event on your school’s social media channels.
  • Make an announcement over the P.A./intercom about your school’s upcoming event.
  • If applicable, inform media about your event by sending a short pitch or posting on an events calendar.


Following up after the event

  • Communicate your progress toward the goals you stated during the event. It won’t mean much if people don’t know that their actions are making a real difference.
  • Ask those who were inspired to join your team and become Rally Supporters or Green Team members and delegate some simple duties to get them involved right away.
  • Post about the kickoff event on your school’s social media channels.
  • Send photos from your event to your school newsletter publisher, yearbook, other local media, PTO/PTA groups, and summarize why you held the event.

Now you’ve thought your entire event through thoroughly, and you’re ready to make it happen. Go ahead, have fun, make memories and rally your whole school to get excited for recycling!

Kickoff Event Guide

Kickoff Event Banner

Ready to kick off your school recycling program? Print and hang this Recycle Rally banner to get community members excited for your efforts.

Kickoff Event Invitation (editable)

Invite community members to take part in your Recycle Rally kickoff event with this free editable invitation.

Kickoff Event Staff Email Announcement

Getting staff on board is so important. Use this staff email template for your Recycle Rally kickoff event to invite everyone to participate.

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