The Cycle of Recycle

How to deal with waste more responsibly? Play the Cycle of Recyle board game to learn more about what you can do to recycle different waste materials.

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Everything you need to play this game

A step-by-step guide to play the game


Gather four or more players round the board. Each players gets a bottle cap to use as a pawn. Each players throws the dice. The player with the highest number can start the game. The different players start the game in one of the four corners.


A player throws the die and moves the number of indicated spaces forward. The player now needs to complete the assignment corresponding to the square he lands on (see list of assignments in the Extra Game Information section).


A player receives points for each assignment completed. Note down the score of each player on a paper or on a blackboard.


The game ends when a player reaches a certain amount of points (f.ex. 10) or when a player has completed one round of the board.

Extra game information

The outside of the panel is the game board with different squares that link to different assignments: object, location and looking glass (see explanation below).

The inside of the panel gives visual information on the different ways to deal with waste (see background information).

At the top of the drawing you see three concentric circles. The three circles show ways to deal with waste that are more positive for the environment. The inner circle stands for prevention, the middle circle for reuse and the outer circle for recycling.

Each circle gives a visual example:

  • Prevention:

Step 1: Person eats fruits/vegetables.

Step 2: They throw the waste on the compost pile.

Step 3: Compost can be used to fertilise the garden.

Step 4: Plants are growing in the garden.

  • Reuse:

Step 1: Couple leaves their home with empty bags.

Step 2: They fill their bags with the things they bought.

Step 3: They go home with their same bags filled.

  • Recycling:

Step 1: There is a broken car with a flat tire.

Step 2: Someone takes the tire and makes shoes out of it.

Step 3: Someone else buys the shoes, puts them on.

Step 4: The shoes are worn out and thrown away.

At the bottom of the drawing there are several ways to deal with waste which have a negative effect on nature (red): water pollution, dumping trash in nature, smog, exhaust gases, burning waste, dumping waste…



When you land on an object, you need to think about the most ecological way to deal with it. If you can give an example of prevention, you get 3 points. If you can give an example of reuse, you get 2 points. If you can give an example of recycling, you get 1 point. If you give an example of dumping, burying or burning, you get 0 points.


When you land on a location, you need to think about three different ways to deal with the waste related to the location. Here you get 1 point for each example that is NOT dumping, burying or burning. Motivate the children to give examples that have not already been given in the game by others.


When you land on the looking glass, you need to search for objects in the area around the mobile school and think about how deal with this kind of waste in the most ecological way.


The idea behind this panel comes from 'the Ladder of Lansink'. The principle of ‘the Ladder of Lansink’ shows the way in which we have to deal with waste, starting with the most environmentally friendly way and ending with the most ecologically damaging way.

  • Prevention

'Prevention of waste' is at the top of the ladder. The best way to deal with waste is to avoid waste. This is cheap and environmentally friendly and is the only way to actually reduce the waste mountain. There are plenty of opportunities to avoid waste, you have to look good and buy smart. It is a question of finding alternatives to products that entail waste. But the most obvious example of waste prevention is home composting: by composting kitchen and garden waste, you reduce the residual waste by many kilos a year.

  • Reuse

If waste is inevitable, it is best used as much as possible. The most beautiful examples are the articles in a second hand shop, giveaway initiatives, return bottles, refillable packaging,... Also repairing something instead of throwing it away is a possibility.

  • Recycling

If things cannot be reused, it is necessary to verify that waste can be recycled, processed or incorporated into new products. Recycling is therefore the process of handling and processing the waste into new products, reusing the raw material. Therefore, these raw materials must be collected separately. Some examples: old paper becomes new paper, metal cans become a new bike, plastic bottles become a new fleece, ...

At the bottom of the ladder are the most polluting solutions. These methods of waste disposal are therefore to be avoided and are only applied if previous systems are not possible.

Specific learning objectives

  • Learn about the difference between recycling, reuse and prevention.
  • Understand the importance of recycling for their environment
  • Identify the influence of human beings on the environment

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