Austin Resource Recovery is committed to achieving zero waste by educating Austin’s youth to create the next Generation Zero! Austin Resource Recovery, in partnership with Keep Austin Beautiful, provides presentations and activity kits for students in kindergarten through grade 12. Join us to engage youth in fun, hands-on activities to raise awareness about recycling, composting and conservation while fostering environmental stewardship.

Generation Zero in schools

Schedule multidisciplinary lessons that are Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) aligned to connect these experiences to real-world situations. Participating schools receive:

  • Three classroom presentations led by Keep Austin Beautiful. Presentations fit into a typical school block and range from 45–50 minutes for K–8 and 90 minutes for high school students.
  • Curriculum resources and supplemental activities.
  • Guidance in the planning and implementation of a stewardship project.
  • A Generation Zero banner that recognizes your school’s participation in the program.

Curriculum by grade level

K–second grade

After sorting recyclables, students take a close look at nature’s recycling and the science of composting. Students will use observation skills and their senses to explore worms in the process of decomposition and identify acceptable materials for composting. This lesson offers a hands-on look at the life of a worm and provides a prompt for setting up a classroom vermicomposting bin.

Third–fifth grade

Students put their math and critical thinking skills to the test by calculating the types of materials found in our waste stream, decoding recycling symbols, and weighing and charting samples of trash from the classroom to determine the percentage of school waste that is or could be diverted.

Middle school

Students will identify how trash is processed in a landfill, explore the structure and impact while building model landfills, take a journey through the sorting, packing and processing of materials and discover just how much land and resources it takes to support the average lifestyle. 

High School

Explore the evolution of trash in American society from street dumping to sanitary landfill systems. Topics will include increased waste production, municipal collection, links to disease, disposal methods and landfill regulations. Students will be challenged to consider how these events have changed perceptions of waste through the decades.


Register to schedule a presentation and engage students in service. For questions, e-mail Keep Austin Beautiful or call (512) 391-0617.

Public resources

Teaching youth about zero waste is easier than ever with activity kits that are available for checkout. Activity kits come with an easy-to-follow lesson plan and all the supplies needed to lead the hands-on activities. View the Keep Austin Beautiful web page for full list of kits available, to request a kit or discover more zero waste resources.