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Waste Free Lunches in Celebration of America Recycles Day

America Recycles day is November 15. In the spirit of “going green” my students created some posters to hang around the school promoting our lunch program’s “Waste Free Wednesday” campaign. The idea behind Waste Free Wednesday is simple: students that pack a lunch from home are encouraged to pack only reusable items in their lunch. Everything from the lunch box, thermos, plastic containers, even cloth napkins are encouraged to eliminate lunchtime waste.

Go green at your school. Invite students to bring a waste free lunch one day each week. Blog post includes a very cute downloadable "Waste Free Wednesday" poster

My half-day kindergarten students don’t eat lunch at school, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get involved! After a classroom discussion about Waste-Free Wednesday, my students were thrilled to make posters advertising the weekly event. I copied the posters ahead of time on white cardstock (for added durability) and provided each child with a pre-printed poster. The text and image were already included on the sign, but it was my students’ job to bring the poster to life by adding a little color. We use crayons and markers on a regular basis and I wanted these posters to be special, so we decorated them with watercolor paints instead.

The children prepared their posters by tracing over all of the black lines on the sandwich image with a black crayon. This little step is great fine motor practice and the crayon wax provides a natural barrier to keep the paint from spreading and bleeding colors into different parts of the image.

go green at school with waste free lunches and this adorable FREE poster to spread the word

Once the outlining was complete, the children were ready to paint! This project was done whole-group. I painted a sample and projected it with my classroom Elmo, while the students painted along with me. This was only our second time using watercolors this year, but OH MY WORD – what a beautiful job they did!

go green at school with waste free lunches and this adorable FREE poster to spread the word

Once the sandwich was compete, the children painted the letters “Waster Free” that appear across the top of their poster. They selected their own bright colors for the letters. My only rules were no black and no brown paint.

go green at school with waste free lunches and this adorable FREE poster to spread the word go green at school with waste free lunches and this adorable FREE poster to spread the word

I absolutely love how the finished posers turned out. This was the perfect way to do a painting project with a minimal time investment in my classroom. Plus the posters look so much more stunning than anything they could have colored with crayons or markers.

FREE Waste Free Wednesday Poster

If you have a Waste Free Wednesday campaign at your school (of if you are considering adding this weekly lunch feature to your school) I have a great FREE poster for you! You can download the same poster I used in my classroom for FREE in my TpT store

go green at school with waste free lunches and this adorable FREE poster to spread the word

Additional information about America Recycles Day can be found here.

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Maria Gavin

Maria is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, with 13 years of teaching experience. Her love and passion for all things early childhood is now fulfilled as a mom to two amazing kids. She loves sharing practical and creative tips and ideas that are perfect for young learners – in the classroom or at home!

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6 Responses

  1. I teach a kindergarten program that is only 475 hours for the year – this equals 2-3 full days a week. How do you fit in all the curriculum for your half day program? I find it challenging to cover them fully, while having daily Phys Ed and some “learning through play centers”.

    Love your Blog and ideas. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    1. It is HARD to fit it all in. I push my students to work fast and they know that I don’t like to waste a minute of our time together. We never fit every subject in every single day. I just do the best I can. We often skip our calendar time since it’s so repetitive. By the end of the year, they are just as prepared for first grade as the full day class at my school.

  2. Hi Maria I am so happy that I stumbled across your page. My name is Linsey Jassem and I currently in school to get my teaching credential in hopes to teacher Kindergarten. I found your site to be so inspiring and full of so many great ideas! I love this idea of Waste Free Wednesday; this is definitely something I would love to do when I get my own classroom.

  3. Thank you so much for this poster. We spend a lot of time talking about recycling and conserving natural resources in first grade. This will be a great activity to use in my class and as a school project. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Renee! You are very welcome. I’m so happy to hear that is will be a helpful resource for both your classroom and school. Happy American Recycles Day!

  4. Just a point of English punctuation: there’s a big difference between “waste free lunches” and “waste-free lunches.” Your poster is missing an essential hyphen. Otherwise, you are telling people to waste lunches! 🙂

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Hi, I'm Maria.

I’m a former kindergarten teacher turned work-from-home mom. I still love sharing ideas and resources to make teaching easier, so you can focus on what really matters in the classroom. When I’m not working on the blog, you’ll find me chasing kids around the house with a cold cup of coffee in my hand (some things never change even once you’re out of the classroom!)


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