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Take Action at Home: Litter Free Action Project

Be a Reuse Scientist and take collective action to stop ocean pollution!

The World Economic Forum reports that there are over 150 million metric tons of plastics in the ocean, and the problem is getting worse. Small items like straws and other single-use plastics are not easily recyclable and therefore end up in landfills, waterways, and oceans.

In the Litter Free Action Project, explore how litter interacts with and affects our watersheds. A watershed is the area of land where all water flows into a central body of water. Check out this Alameda County Flood Control Watershed Map to find your local watershed. In this action project, students can make observations and collect data on the most common types of litter they may or may not find in their neighborhood.

The Collective Action Steps: Litter Free Action Project offers a road map to suggested activities and actions for individuals, families or classrooms to complete. Don't forget to share out your actions to build on our collective storytelling!

Download the Collective Action Steps: Litter Free Action Project

Use the links below to skip to the Litter Free Action Step Activities & Resources:

Step 1. Stay Connected

Join the StopWaste Schools E-News Network to receive up-to-date resources and news!

Sign up for StopWaste Schools E-News

Students can also meet the League of 4Rs Action Heroes to learn about every day students doing extraordinary things to reduce waste.

Step 2. Engage in 4Rs Litter Free Activities

Complete one activity or complete them all. You decide how your students engage with our online materials.

StopWaste Litter Free Activities:

KidScoop News: Earth Tips

KidScoop News in partnership with the Altamont Education Advisory Board created these earth tip activity pages that showcase and spotlight many of StopWaste’s student and teacher action heroes.

Earth Tips related to the Litter Free Action Project are titled “Who Needs Straws”, “Students Help Make a Change”, “Students Pledge to Help the Earth”, and “Local Students Help Pass Law to Reduce Plastic Waste”.

Recommended Grade Levels: TK-4th grade

Download the KidScoop Earth Tips

Litter Free Coloring Pages

What does it look like to clean up litter in our communities? How do you use your voice to say no to plastic bags at the grocery store and bring my own? Students can color these pages as they reflect on these questions about reducing single-use plastic and preventing litter.

Recommended Grade Levels: TK-3rd grade

Download the Litter Free Coloring Page

Download the Use Reusables Coloring Page

From Oil to Plastic & Doing the 4Rs Activities

Learn about the lifecycle of a plastic product and the nonrenewable resources used to make it. The accompanying Doing the 4Rs Lesson Plans and activities engage students to think deeply about the resources that go into making plastic, one of the most common types of litter item.

Recommended Grade Levels: 4th-6th grade

Watch the Video: From Oil to Plastic

Download the Doing the 4Rs Lesson: Oil to Plastic 101

Download the Doing the 4Rs Lesson: Scavenge for Litter

We are the (Re)Generation Toolkit

The We are the (Re)Generation Toolkit is an intergenerational, action-based storytelling platform for students, families and school communities to collectively create and re-envision a new sustainable and resilient earth story with caring at the core. The toolkit has both 4Rs and Action activities. The recommended activities from Journal 2 below could be used to make connections between the 4Rs and Litter Free Actions.

Recommended Grade Levels: All

  • Action 7: Redesign – Use found litter to make a litter Mandala
  • Action 8: Rethink – Consider alternatives to common types of litter
  • Action 10: Recreate – Create your own reusable t-shirt bag so you don’t need to buy bags at the store
  • Action 12: Research – Find out more about other heroes that are taking action to care for the earth

Download the We are the (Re)Generation Journal 2

Learn more about the full We are the (Re)Generation Toolkit

Additional Litter Free Activities & Resources:

Please note that these resources are being shared for educational purposes only, and does not reflect endorsement.

Mr. Eco sings about Litter Pollution

Mr. Eco believes that monumental changes begin with the youngest members of society. In his song, Litterbug, follow Mr. Eco and his EcoHero friends as they try to catch the “Litterbug”.

Recommended Grade Levels: TK-5th

Watch the Litterbug Official Music Video

Litter & Ocean Plastic Research 

Students can research the impacts of plastic pollution on the environment, the major sources of the most common litter types, and how organizations across the globe are working to address litter pollution.

Recommended Grade Levels: 5th-High School

Alameda County Reusable Bag Ordinance

EPA: Trash Free Waters

Monterey Bay Aquarium: Act for the Ocean

Ocean Conservancy: Plastics in the Ocean

Ocean Conservancy: 2020 Coastal Clean Up Report

Clean Water Action: California

NOAA Marine Debris Program

Step 3: Take Litter Free Action!

Facilitate your students to take action at home, at school, or in their community. There are many ways students can take action to reduce litter and plastic pollution. These activities spotlight ways students can address litter in our neighborhoods, but are there ways we can think upstream and consider actions that prevent litter in the first place?

StopWaste Litter Free Action Activities:

Litter Audit

The litter audit is an opportunity for students to investigate and see first-hand the types of litter, if any, they find in their neighborhood. After the audit is complete, students can share their findings and use data to draw conclusions about common types of litter, where it comes from and what actions can be taken to prevent litter in the first place!

Recommended Grade Levels: All with proper safety precautions and adult supervision

Download the Litter Audit Data Collection Form

Submit Your Litter Audit Data Online

Garbologist Home Storm Drain Investigation

What happens to litter that ends up near or in our storm drains? Without needing to pick up litter, students can make observations and ask questions while exploring litter in and around the nearest storm drain.

Recommended Grade Levels: 4th-high school

Download the Storm Drain Investigation Sheet

Additional Litter Free Take Action Activities:


Litterati is a digital platform for photographing and documenting found pieces of litter. It is also a tool to track litter sources by brand. Students can use their data and the data collected by others around the globe to ask questions and draw conclusions about actions we can all take to reduce litter pollution.

Recommend Grade Levels: All with proper safety precautions and adult supervision

Learn more about Litterati

Join the StopWaste Litter Free Challenge - Challenge Code: SW2223

View Litterati's Presentation about this Challenge

Ocean Conservancy, CleanSwell

The Ocean Conservancy’s CleanSwell app is a digital platform for documenting litter clean ups and collecting data on the litter items found. They also have guidelines and steps to organizing your own litter clean up event.

Recommend Grade Levels: All with proper safety precautions and adult supervision

Learn more about CleanSwell

Step 4: Share Your Actions

Share with us how you took action to create a healthier planet. StopWaste will compile all community actions to showcase our collective impact!

Student Mission Report Back Letters: Litter Free Actions

Students can report what they learned and how they took action at school, at home, and in their community to prevent and reduce plastic pollution. This template for this letter writing activity invites students to report back to the 4Rs Action League.

Download the Student Mission Report Back Template

Fill out the Mission Report Back Template Online

Teacher or Family Report Back

Share with us how you, your family, or your class took action. Teachers, parents, or families can fill out this form to let StopWaste know what actions you took and who you reached.

Download the Report Back Form

Complete the Form Online

Get Creative! Students or classes can create an art piece, presentation, video, song, etc. to share your actions! However you want to share your actions, we want to know! Email us your actions at

Step 5: Celebrate Success!

Now that you’ve taken action, join the League of 4Rs Action Heroes and celebrate!

Create Your Own Action Hero Identity

The 4Rs Action League is a group of everyday students doing extraordinary things to reduce waste and create a healthier planet. Students can celebrate their own actions by creating their own Action Hero Identity – complete with super hero name, illustration and origin story!

Download the 4Rs Action Hero Hall of Fame Template

We are the (Re)Generation Digital Stories

View this slideshow to see how teachers and students took action at home during shelter in place. View their 4Rs stories and get inspired to share your own!

Email us at to have your story added to this digital collective action story telling platform.

View the Digital Storytelling Project