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Pile of Trash

Do you know how much trash you produce each year? Collect your trash for a few days and figure it out. Then, create something new out of the trash.

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  • Do you want to do this adventure inside, outside or at camp?
  • What types of trash can you bring to the meeting?
  • For how many days do you plan to collect your trash?
  • At camp, collect all of your trash.
  • How can you calculate how much space your trash takes up?
  • What will you build with your trash? What tools will you need?


Activity #1: How much? How long?

  • How much trash did you produce? How much does it weigh? How much space does it take up?
  • Try to make the pile of trash smaller so that it takes up less space. Does it weigh less than it did before?
  • Calculate how much trash you will make in a month. What about a year? And in 70 years?
  • Do you know how much of our waste we recycle in Canada? What happens to the recycled trash? Where does the rest of our trash go?
  • Use the “How long it takes to decompose” poster to understand how long your trash will remain in the environment.

Activity #2: Use the trash to make something new

  • In groups of two or three, use your trash to make something useful for your home, school or Section. You could make a chair, a table, a storage solution, toys, decorations—the possibilities are endless.


  • What do you know now that you did not know before?
  • What did you learn about waste? How can our trash harm the planet? How can you reuse and reduce your trash?
  • How do you think trash can harm wildlife, on land or in the ocean?
  • What can you do in your community to raise awareness about reducing waste and recycling?
  • What elements of STEM were in this adventure? Science? Technology? Engineering? Mathematics?
  • What did you like about the adventure? What did you not like? How would you do this adventure differently?
  • Remember to submit your activities on our Scouts for Sustainability Take Action Map


  • Calculators
  • Paper and pencil
  • Trash and recyclables collected during the week.
  • Scales
  • Boxes and measuring tapes to calculate the volume of the trash
  • Copies of the “How long it takes to decompose” poster
  • Tools to build something out of the trash (scissors, glue, strings, masking tape, etc.)

Keep it Simple

Take it Further

  • How can you share what you have learned with other people? Find a creative way to teach others about recycling and how they can reduce their waste, including how they can reduce their waste at their next camp.