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Clean Up Hazardous Waste!


Earth Day Graphic

  • Arts & Humanities
    Visual Arts
  • Health
  • Science
    Physical Science, Environmental
  • Social Studies


3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description

Students identify sources of home hazardous waste and create posters to educate the community about how to handle hazardous wastes.


Students will
  • create a list of sources of hazardous waste,
  • identify those products in the home that might be considered hazardous,
  • learn why some products are hazardous,
  • learn how to dispose of a variety of hazardous wastes,
  • create posters to educate community members about hazardous waste and how to dispose of it,
  • complete a quiz about hazardous waste in the home.


waste, hazard, trash, recycle, chemicals, poster, safety

Materials Needed

  • Internet access or material printed from the Hazardous Waste pages of the Garbage: How Can My Community Reduce Waste? Web site.
  • art supplies for creating posters

Lesson Plan

Explain to students that some kinds of waste are more dangerous to the environment than others. Ask them to identify the types of waste that they know to be "hazardous" waste. Make a list of students' ideas. Ask which types of hazardous waste might be found in the home. Highlight those home-based sources of hazardous waste.

If students have Internet access, let them explore the pages of the Hazardous Waste Web site to learn what makes waste hazardous. Then ask them to take the quiz to see how much they know. If students do not have access to the Web, share the material at the site, then invite students to add to the class list the sources of hazardous waste in the home that they learned about. They should end up with a lengthy list that includes paint, motor oil, bug sprays, prescription drugs, household cleaners, drain openers, lightbulbs, batteries, and air fresheners.

Have students work individually or in small groups to create a three-column chart with the following headings:

  • Hazardous Waste in the Home
  • Why It Is Hazardous
  • How to Dispose of It
Students will use what they learned to complete the chart.

Finally, Ask students to choose one form of hazardous waste and create a poster that will inform the community about that hazard and how to dispose of it. Build community awareness about hazardous waste by arranging to have students' posters displayed in the community -- in places such as supermarkets, drug stores, restaurants, the library, and the town hall.


Prepare a list of five sources of hazardous waste that are found in the home. Students should identify for each source (1) why that waste is considered hazardous and (2) how the waste should be properly disposed of. Students will earn one point for each "why" and "how" they correctly identify. Eight out of 10 points will constitute a passing grade.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts

  • GRADES K - 4
    NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

  • GRADES 5 - 8
    NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

  • GRADES 9 - 12
    NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
  • GRADES K - 4
    NS.K-4.4 Earth and Space Science
    NS.K-4.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • GRADES 5 - 8
    NS.5-8.4 Earth and Space Science
    NS.5-8.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • GRADES 9 - 12
    NS.9-12.4 Earth and Space Science
    NS.9-12.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
SOCIAL SCIENCES: Civics See more resources at our special Earth Day page.
Return to the Earth Day 2002 lesson plan page.

Originally published 04/05/2002
Links last updated 04/10/2007