GGNZ Reduce Reuse Recycle Water Game

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An intentionally unfair relay transferring water to a bucket to make girls think about recycling.
- Supported by GGNZ National Programme Team


10 cups
4 buckets


This was posted on the GirlGuidingNZ discussion board and is the game referred to in activity 9 of the Planet Watch Unit Badge for Guides.

1. Divide yourselves into two teams, A and B.
2. The aim of this game is to fill your team’s bucket with water before the other team.
3. One player from each team grabs one plastic cup from their team’s start pile (Team A has a start pile of 9 cups, and Team B has a start pile of 1 cup). The player then runs to the water bucket, filling their cup with as much water as possible. Once full, they must run down to their team’s empty bucket and pour the water in.
Once they have emptied their cup:
Team A: Throws their cup in a separate pile and returns to their team. Their cup cannot be used again. The next player can then go.
Team B: Holds onto their cup and runs back to their team spinning, and yelling “REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!” over and over until they return to their team. Once there, they hand their cup to the next player.
Whichever team fills their water bucket up first, using only the cups in their pile, wins!

Read this AFTER you have played the Game!
Which team won?
The purpose of this game is to show how recycling pays off in the long run. Although Team A might have been ahead in the beginning (they did not have to spin round, shouting ‘reduce, reuse recycle!), they soon ran out of cups and could no longer fill their bucket. Team B, on the other hand, might have been a little slower, but because they recycled their cups it allowed them to complete the task of filling their water bucket.
How does this apply to society and recycling?
Do you sometimes feel that taking that extra step is too much work?
What are the long term effects of recycling? And of not recycling? Discuss with your group.


  • game
  • recycle
  • recycling
  • reduce
  • relay
  • reuse
  • sustainability
  • waste
  • water

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