StopWaste at School


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Create Effective Waste Reduction Posters

EarthDay Poster ContestEarthDay Poster Contest"How do I get my students to move beyond 'coloring with friends' to create recycling posters that really work?" ~ Middle School Teacher

Most school waste reduction campaigns depend on getting the word out to large numbers of students. Schools have developed a wide range ot techniques to help deliver the message, including in-class lessons, assemblies, peer-to-peer outreach, websites, and more, but one of the most effective ways to get the word out is through posters and signs on campus.  Here are some pointers for developing effective signs and posters.

Plan for Sustainability

  • Be mindful of how much paper gets used in a poster campaign.  
  • Design poster projects to use recycled or reused paper.
  • Encourage students to do drafts on the back sides of scratch paper before using higher quality/larger format paper for final products
  • Avoid the use of glues, tapes and paints that might limit the future recyclablity of the posters
  • Consider materials appropriate for ephemeral posters ("Big Event Tuesday!") compared to durable posters (recycling guides on bins, etc)
  • Plan to collect and reuse or recycle posters and signs at the end of your campaign

Students customized posters from the city to reflect actual waste on campusStudents customized posters from the city to reflect actual waste on campusIntegrate the project with coursework

  • Partner with a digital graphics or digital media class to encourage them to develop materials with waste reduction messages
  • Investigate how creating posters can help meet your English/Language Arts, Arts, Science, and/or Foreign Language standards.

Teach students how to make posters

  • Provide students with examples of posters that effectively deliver a message
  • Consider providing students with poster templates that they can customize
  • Teach media literacy skills so that students can identify and use effective advertising techniques
  • Teach basic art and design skills and vocabulary such as: focal point, contrast, symmetry, balance, white space, etc.
  • Develop a rubric that clearly explains expectations for the appearance and content of the poster


  • Poster Project Guide produced by San Leandro Art Specialist Susan Deming.  This 5 page guide includes tools for teachers and students to help create effective posters.
  • Advertising the 4Rs a media literacy guide to understanding and using advertising techniques in your waste reduction project.


Have you created a fantastic poster that helps get the word out about waste reduction?  Email a copy to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.