Clean, Green Fun for Kids!

Summer is just around the corner, although it may feel like it’s already started. Summer break is a great time to inspire your kids to appreciate our natural environment. Environmental activities help kids understand why the environment is important and provides them with the building blocks they need to live eco-friendly and sustainable lives. Check out these five simple eco-friendly activities for kids.

1-Recycle veggie scraps into compost

Did you know about 30% of our household trash is food waste? It’s easy to divert this “resource” away from the landfill through backyard composting. Composting is a fun and rewarding way for kids to watch natural processes in action and they’ll think twice about wasting their uneaten vegetables. Follow this easy guide and try out composting at home this summer.

2Plant a butterfly garden

Kid or adult, who doesn’t enjoy having butterflies around! Your garden will also attract hummingbirds, bees and other pollinators who need our help. It’s a great way for children to learn about the cycle of life and explore the relationship between plants and animals. Here’s an easy guide to get started. For examples of great plants for The Woodlands, check out this list.

3-Turn trash into treasure by making recycled paper

Here’s a fun way to show kids how paper that’s recycled curbside turns into something new. All you need are a few supplies found at home to make a brand new sheet of paper from old newspaper. Follow the instructions here.

4-Litter cleanup day

Enjoy a walk outdoors and help keep our community beautiful at the same time by picking up litter. The Township has litter grabbers and bags available for loan any time of the year. Check out The Woodlands Litter Cleanup Guide here.

5-Eco-movie night with Jack Golden

Grab the popcorn and settle in for movie night with a special online viewing of Garbage is My Bag: The Movie starring Jack Golden!

What do you do when a trash bag is so full you can’t fit it into the garbage can — or a town landfill is overflowing and polluting water supplies? ……..Call a “trashologist”!

In “Garbage is My Bag“ – an award winning performance program for school kids – Jack Golden is the comedic “expert”, Dr. T, who delves into a mountain of trash — and an even bigger bag of vaudeville and circus tricks — in search of answers to these questions. With a “Ph.D. in Garbology”, a zany and irresistible personality, and a marvelous trash-to-treasure-o-matic recycling machine, he juggles and jokes his way through a world of waste. Dr. T will teach you that rubbish is a resource that is just too good to throw away. Find your ticket to the movie here or watch the video below.


For more fun activities, check out The Woodlands Township’s Summer Action Guide here for programs by Environmental Services or Parks and Recreation.

Recycling Guidelines

Keep The Woodlands recycling program going strong by refreshing your knowledge of curbside guidelines. Above all, follow the Golden Rule of Recycling: place only the approved items in your recycling cart. Items other than those specified are considered contaminants. Common contaminants included plastic bags, tanglers (cords or string), food waste, hazardous waste, and Styrofoam. These itemsharm machinery, endanger  workers and reduce the value of the approved materials.   

Many items that don’t belong in your curbside cart can be recycled locally. Findwhere to take plastic bags, electronics, Styrofoam, batteries and more with The Woodlands Township’s Recycle More Guide.

Did you know? Half of the contamination found in our recycling is bagged recyclables. Are you collecting recyclables in a bag? Simply empty the contents into the cart. Take clean plastic bags back to grocery stores for recycling. Trash the dirty ones. Share this tip with three friends or neighbors to keep our recycling program strong. 

For more information about recycling, visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/recyling 

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:      


Questions or comments?

Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov


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Recycling Dilemma #1009: Caution, that pizza box is cheesy!

Pizza nights are a common family tradition – over 93% of Americans enjoy the cheesy pie at least once a month. And most of us think recycling the box when we’re done is the right thing to do. We are right, aren’t we? Well, sort of.  

If you are an avid recycler, and we know you are, trashing any piece of cardboard goes against your nature. But, placing cardboard and paper soaked in oil, sauce and cheese in the trash is the right thing to do! Food and grease are the most frequent and costliest contaminants in the paper recycling process.  

If the top half of the box is clean and salvageable, cut or tear off the clean part for recycling and trash the greasy part. If the extra cheese on your pizza sticks to the top and bottom the top of the box, trash it. It’s better this way! 

Please note some cities recycle pizza boxes because their recycling facility is equipped to do so and there is an end market for soiled cardboard. Greasy cardboard may work in some areas, but not in ours. Here, they only contaminate the good material. Find out more about local recycling contaminants here.  

Food-soiled pizza boxes and paper products are considered contamination. Each year, contamination costs the recycling industry over $700 million in damage to machinery, unanticipated disposal costs, inefficiency, lost time and wasted materials. 

Help keep The Woodlands recycling program successful by sharing the 4-1-1- on pizza boxes with friends and family at your next pizza party! 

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:     

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov   

3R Recycling Drive-thru

Convenient, free one-day recycling event.

The Woodlands Township’s annual 3R Bazaar is mobilizing this year; it’s been reimagined as the 3R Recycling Drive-thru. Enjoy convenient, free one-day recycling from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle or bicycle on Saturday, November 14, 2020 from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of The Woodlands High School (enter from Millennium Forest Dr).

Although the traditional bazaar element has been removed this year residents are encouraged to celebrate the true spirit of 3R, finding new opportunities to recycle items that cannot be recycled in curbside carts. Refer to the list below for accepted items and guidelines. Free recycling is for residents only, please no businesses. 

The safety of volunteers, staff and residents is the highest priority. All volunteers and staff will wear face coverings. Participants are required to wear a face covering as well, while items are being removed from the car. If you don’t have a mask, we’re happy to provide one. 

This year’s Village Recycling Challenge item is Alkaline AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries. This friendly competition awards funds for scholarships to Villages with the highest participation; funds are donated by The Woodlands G.R.E.E.N. Please label your bag/box of batteries with your Village’s name. 

Free One-Day Drive-thru Recycling  

Bag or box items separately by category and place them in your trunk or back passenger side seat for safe access by volunteers. A volunteer will open the trunk, hatchback or rear side passenger door to remove items. Residents only, no businesses  

  • Batteries – Alkaline AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V labeled with village name. 
  • Disposable Razorblades with packaging. See this list for examples. 
  • Eyeglasses, sunglasses and cases  
  • Oral Care Products – Toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and floss containers. 
  • Snack and drink pouches – Any brand with straws and pouch lids. See this list for examples. 
  • Styrofoam block packaging – No food containers or cups. 
  • Textiles – Overly worn clothing, shoes, linens, fabric scraps and other unusable. textiles. Please donate any good, usable items to local charities here. 

Document Shredding  

  • Secure on-site document shredding   
  • Residential only - limited capacity (first come, first served)   
  • Recommended donation of 5 cans of food or $5 per box; benefits Interfaith Food Pantry 

Can’t make it to 3R? That’s ok! The Precinct 3 Recycling Center (1122 Pruitt Road in Spring), Home Depot, Lowes, Batteries Plus, Best Buy, and some Walmart’s accept batteries all year. For a comprehensive list of local recycling opportunities of other oddities such as Styrofoam, electronics, lightbulbs, paints, pharmaceuticals, and more check out the Recycle More Guide.  

Is your group looking for a fundraising opportunity or trying to collect items for a reuse project? Consider joining us at 3R. Check out Terracycle for ideas to earn funds for your organization. 

For event updates and more information, contact The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department at 281-281-3800 or visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/3Rbazaar

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov

Recycling Dilemma #1007 K-Cups: How to stay caffeinated, sustainably

In 2013, roughly 10 billion Keurig brand coffee pods were sold. Popularity of single serving coffee makers has grown since then and manufacturers of pods are hesitant to reveal how many are sold annually. It is estimated that the amount of coffee pods, or K-Cups, in landfills could wrap around the planet 10 times! (The Story of Stuff) Imagine all the wasted coffee grounds that could be composted and all the aluminum and plastic could have been recycled into new products.

We love the convenience of coffee pods, but it comes with a cost: coffee pods cannot be recycled through our curbside program and are considered a contaminant. While some brands label their pods “recyclable” that holds true only in select communities with coffee pod recycling programs.  Currently, those programs are not operating in our region. 

Why cant I recycle them curbside? 

  1. Multiple materials comprise a coffee pod: an aluminum top, paper filter, coffee grounds and a plastic cup. Each material must be separated to be properly recycled, a process too complex for the current technology at standard recycling centers. 
  1. Although our curbside program accepts plastic and aluminum, both the plastic cup and aluminum components are too small to be properly sorted at the recycling facility. Anything smaller than 4 inches by 4 inches (like a post-it note size) falls through a screen and is landfilled with other small contaminants and residue.  

There is a way! 

You can recover your coffee pod aluminum by combining it with other clean aluminum into a ball 4” or larger and place it in your cart.  

Compost the coffee grounds and paper for a great soil additive. 

Take advantage of the one of several mail-in opportunities. These services separate the plastic and aluminum for recycling and the coffee and filter for composting. Check with the coffee pod maker for a free mail-in program. Terracycle, Recycle A Cup, and Grounds to Grow On also provide this service. 

Reduce your use 

If you’re ready to kick the single-use habit and reduce waste

Try another brewing method. Some coffee machines are compatible with a refillable K-cup or coffee pod option. French press espresso makers are capable of making smaller quantities of coffee and require no single use materials to brew.  

Check out these recycling tips from previous blogs:   

Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov