12 Top Children’s Books about Recycling (Check Them Out!)

12 Great Children's Books about Recycling: Trash Collection, Zero Waste, Plastic Pollution, Material Reusing, Ocean Sealife . Recycling books for kids

12 Top Children’s Books About Recycling

Disclaimer: This page about recycling books for kids includes affiliate links, which may earn income to me at no cost to you.

The Earth is important, the only planet home we have. To keep the Earth healthy, we need to be sustainable: to take our waste and repurpose it back to make new items, to not use single-use plastics as much as possible, to think smartly about how we use items.

Here are 12 books about recycling and reduction of trash productions for children. You can look to your local library to find these books and more, about this important topic of recycling and being kind to the Earth.


Recycling Books for Kids

Recycling!, by Jess Stockham

This preschool book introduces the process of recycling for youngest learners. Families will enjoy this recycling book for toddlers.

Where Do Garbage Trucks Go?: And Other Questions About Trash and Recycling, by Ben Richmond

The journey of trash doesn’t end when it gets picked up from your house. Here children can go on a journey to find out what happens next to the trash and recycling.

What a Waste: Trash, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet, by Jess French

This DK book about recycling is a good illustrated look into how trash and recycled products both do damage to our environment and oceans.

You Are Eating Plastic! by Maria Simon

Much of recyclable material doesn’t make it back to get recycled, and some items are extremely difficult to recycle. This book discusses microplastic, and how just because a plastic bottle says it is recyclable, doesn’t mean it 100% is recycled. The ocean sealife eats the plastic items, like soda can rings and plastic drinking straws. These plastics end up in our fish for dining, and make their way up the food chain. We, too, are eating plastic.

Fly Guy Presents: Garbage & Recycling, by Tedd Arnold

Fly Guy Presents: Garbage & Recycling is a book for kids about recycling, where a cartoon fly leads them through the process of learning more about their trash and the environmental effects of waste.

Where Does the Garbage Go? (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2), by Paul Showers, illustrated by Randy Chewning

This book of elementary science takes a look at the journey that trash goes through from can to landfill, and how recycling gets sorted at a recycling center.

I Am Not Trash, by Meredith Pope, illustrated by Santhya Shenbagam Radhakrishnan

This fictional story is about a small plastic water bottle named Meri. This picture book about plastic pollution gives a face and story to the larger problem.


One Small Bag: Recycling Plastic Bags

One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, by Miranda Paul, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Plastic bags are cheap, and useful in the moment. But they stack up by the hundreds, cluttering the streets and causing harm to small animals. Isatou Ceesay had an idea of transforming the trash that lined her streets into treasure, making textiles from plastic bags and crafting them into durable purses to sell. By recycling the materials, she could clean up the environment and provide more value for her community.


The History of Trash: the Garbage Barge

All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff, by Meghan McCarthy

In 1987, New York City decided the best thing they could do for their trash was set it out to sea. This book tells that surprising tale of bad trash management, and is a great way to start a study into other trash problems, like the Great Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean, or the crisis in recycling where China would no longer accept American plastics.

Taking It To The Next Level: Children’s Books about Zero Waste

Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle. by Erica Fyvie, illustrated by Bill Slavin

This recycling book for kids is accessible to 3rd graders, and great for middle schoolers, regarding how everything we use ends up in a landfill. Not everything can be recycled, and what are the effects of each item we utilize in our daily life. Great book for sparking conversations about sustainability, recycling, and zero-waste.

Trash Talk: Moving Toward A Zero-Waste World, by Michelle Mulder

Trash Talk discusses how trash has had an impact around the globe, from the Pacific Ocean to small communities that are drowning in their own plastic. It also puts a focus on how even young children can make a difference reducing and recycling waste.

Human Footprint: Everything You Will Eat, Use, Wear, Buy, and Throw Out in Your Lifetime, by Ellen Kirk

This National Geographic Kids book quantifies how much trash we make in our lifetimes. This book visualizes the effects that our human consumption have over time, and it provides a mathematical connection. It’s a bit more on the coffee table picture book side of things (like the Weird-But-True books by National Geographic Kids), the impact is in the pictures of mountains of trash, soda cans, and such.


That’s 12 recycling books for kids – hopefully one will inspire your learner today! Whether it was books about plastic pollution, or books about trash, or books about zero-waste, it will get children thinking about their environmental impact and waste management for a healthier ecosystem.



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