My daughter Ari discovered a game on the EPA’s website called Recycle City. She enjoyed it and learned in the process. The game starts with Dumptown, a municipality that sends all of its trash to the dump and it doesn’t look like a nice place to live. When City Hall is clicked, nine different recycling programs are available. Each program has a short description, the associated costs, and examples of how it has worked in different communities.
As a typical six-year-old, Ari activated each recycling program in the game. When we played together later, she discovered that some programs have very little benefit but a high cost. By not activating two programs, we recovered 73 tons of waste at a cost of $148,000. In contrast, when Ari toggled all of the programs, 84 tons of waste was recovered, but at a cost of $251,000.
The game seems to be best suited for grades 1-6. The reading level of the game is at about a 5th or 6th grade level because of the specific vocabulary. Ari is a good reader for a first grader and she understood the general directions but not all of the words. If playing the game with kids in younger grades they will need help understanding the information provided about the programs but they should be able to play the game on their own if they are familiar with computers.
Kids should play Recycle City because it teaches them about different programs available to cities and towns. One program I learned about was grasscycling. When you mow your lawn you leave the grass you cut on your lawn. It goes into your soil [by decomposition] and leaves the nutrients for the soil.