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COVID-19 Updates — December 5, 2022 Update: Explore Scouts Canada’s actions as we continue to follow the direction of government and health agencies in maintaining public health. View recommendations and stay informed here.

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.