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Economic Earth Day Activities: 5 Ways to Go Green & Save Green

Earth Day (April 22) is observed around the world as a day to demonstrate support for the environment. Preserving earthdayclean water and air, protecting endangered species, and researching climate change are  huge and expensive endeavors funded by governments and big businesses. However, it is possible for concerned communities, civic minded organizations, and individual households to actually save money while contributing to a healthier planet.

It is never too early to teach youngsters the possible connections between the stewardship of the environment and the saving of money, time, and resources.

Here are some ways to celebrate the upcoming Earth Day while teaching kids and students to be frugal consumers.


Reuse: We all have things that we no longer use that may have value to another person.

The use of secondhand items not only reduces the demand for expensive brand-new consumer goods, but it also encourages the use of fewer natural, human, and capital resources.

Plan a class trading day.   Students may bring in, with their parents’ permission, used books, clean but outgrown t-shirts, last year’s lunch boxes, duplicate CD’s, etc.  Allow students to advertise and display their items and then encourage them to trade.   This activity is more meaningful if, at the end of the activity, all the items that are not traded are donated to a non-profit thrift store.

Recycle: Explain to the students that paper is made from wood and that by recycling paper products fewer trees will be cut down, thus putting less stress on the environment.   Students may also be interested to learn that plastics are a petroleum product and only about 25% of beverage bottles get recycled.  Challenge the students to create a school recycling project.  This project could be turned into a contest with classes competing to see which one could bring in the most plastic, and paper for recycling.

Note: Some research should be done prior to this project.    Does your area have a soft drink bottle recycling rebate program? Is there a local organization available to accept the recycled paper? Does the school have storage space for incoming materials?  Is there a method to get the materials to the recycling location?

Reduce: Notebook paper may not be especially expensive, but a great deal of it is used during a school day. Would it be possible to reduce this amount, thus saving both money and resources?  Spend a week supporting your students in their effort to use less paper.  Some ways they can accomplish this is by using half sheets, writing on both the front and back, and completing multiple assignments on one sheet.   Be sure to support this reducing-paper-use initiative by limiting the distribution of worksheets, and using both sides of any printed notices, permission slips, newsletters, etc.


#1 The average Canadian is responsible for about 2.2 kilograms of garbage each day. Discuss ways that we can cut down on the materials we throw away.  Create a class list of things that can be done in school and at home to reduce the amount of items that are sent to the landfill.  Post the list and put a check by each idea that is accomplished.

#2 It is estimated that bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste each year.  Do some quick research as to what the cost of a bottle of water is in your community.  (It is usually most expensive in a vending machine.  However, this is the price I use as it is the one that the students can purchase for themselves.)  Ask the students to estimate how many bottles of water they drink a week. Multiply that by four to get a monthly average, then by twelve to get a yearly estimate.  Multiply the yearly average by the price of one bottle. Discuss how much money could be saved by preparing a Thermos of water from home rather than purchasing water in plastic bottles.

Teachers wishing for more ideas and activities based on the celebration of Earth Day may find some excellent resources at this website:

EcoKids Earth Day Canada


Do you have any unique ideas when it comes to celebrating Earth Day with your kids or classroom? Please tell us below!



Posted by Lynne Farrell Stover in Teacher, General ← Previous Post Next Post →

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