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1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th


Science, Social Studies, English Language Arts, Health

Resource Types

  • Game
  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West, Oregon, Willamette Valley / Portland Metro

Recycle or Not Game

Ask a Question

  • This sorting game gives students the opportunity to test what they know about what can and cannot be recycled in the Portland area.
  • Provided with this game are lists for items that can be recycled, should be thrown in the trash, or are hazardous and must be disposed of in another way.
Teaching Tips


  • This entire website, including the game, is also available in Spanish by clicking "Español" in the top-right corner.
  • Pictures and color-coding allow younger students and students with low reading comprehension to play the game.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students will need to know what recycling is, why communities recycle, and that each city may have different allowable materials in their recycling plant.
  • This game requires access to the Internet and a device.


  • Language arts classes can produce informational writing to inform readers about what can and cannot be recycled.
  • Science classes can talk about why certain things can't be recycled. They can also discuss how long it takes certain things to break down in nature and what the solution is for things that can't be broken down or recycled.
  • After researching their area's recycling rules, students can discuss recycling as a climate solution and create persuasive materials encouraging people to recycle correctly.
  • Students can create graphics to put on their school trash and recycling bins, showing others how to sort the trash and recycling. 
  • Students can bring in different items from home and play an in-person version of this game, sorting the items into proper receptacles at school. Consider a class collection bucket for used batteries and other hazardous waste that students can collect and dispose of properly.
  • Encourage students to think about ways to use reusable containers more often or purchase items with less packaging to begin with.
Scientist Notes
This website provides information about what items are recyclable, trash, or hazardous materials in the Portland, Oregon area. The primary attraction to the site is a 10-question recycling quiz, where players sort items into trash or recycling categories. The game is simple and can be replayed. Items will change, but there is a finite number of questions, so they will eventually repeat. After each question is answered, information about the item is given. Links are also provided for specific recycling information for three area counties (Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington). This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-3 Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
      • 5-ESS3-1 Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth’s resources and environment.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.7.6-8 Apply civic virtues and democratic principles in school and community settings.
      • D2.Civ.11.K-2 Explain how people can work together to make decisions in the classroom.
      • D2.Civ.13.3-5 Explain how policies are developed to address public problems.
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.3-5 Explain different strategies and approaches students and others could take in working alone and together to address local, regional, and global problems, and predict possible results of their actions.
  • Related Resources


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