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Thomas & Friends

Recycling Cargo Cars

Help your little engineer set up a Sodor Recycling Station in your home.
En Español

t5Be Really Useful to your home and keep our planet as green as the Island of Sodor by being a conscientious recycler. Get your engineer on the right track by setting up a Sodor Recycling Station in your home and put her in charge of filling the cargo cars and bringing them to the curb or to your local recycling station on a regular basis.

Time: 30-40 minutes


  • (2) Large plastic bins – one blue, one green
  • (1) Large cardboard box (recycle one that may have been previously used for mailing a large package)
  • Clear packing tape
  • Black construction paper
  • Yellow construction paper
  • Thick red marker
  • A list of items your town recycles


  1. Cut long strips of black construction paper, approximately 5” x 11”.
  2. Tape the strips together to create two long chains; then tape the chains around the bottom perimeter of each plastic bin to be the engines’ buffers. Be sure to cover the buffers thoroughly with the packing tape to create a laminate (this will help it last!).
  3. The green bin – based on Percy – should have a yellow #6 on its side: cut the yellow number out of the construction paper, outline it with the red marker and tape it on the long side of the bin. Because Percy likes to collect mail, this bin can hold mixed paper, magazines, newspapers and cardboard.
    • To make sure your family knows what items get recycled, print out pictures, or cut pieces of labels from your commonly-used recyclables and tape them to the front of the bin (the part people will see).
  4. The blue bin – Really Useful Engine, Thomas – can have a #1 on its side and should house the items most frequently used in your household, like plastic, glass and metal.
    • Note: if your town requires you to separate glass from plastic or metal, make an additional bin. (Important: Monitor the handling of cans and potentially sharp objects.)
  5. The brown cardboard box – Toby – should be used for items that need to be brought to a transfer or recycling station, such as batteries, Styrofoam or electronics (things that run on batteries or electricity). Once Toby’s load is full you can set aside time to bring the items to the appropriate place for recycling. Some cell phone providers recycle old phones and chargers; your local dump may also set aside specific days for people to bring old paint cans or electronics.

Full steam ahead to a greener planet!


Take It Further

Talk about why we recycle things. Help your child connect the concept to her own life by discussing “hand-me-downs” -- a way of “recycling” something that is still useful. To make recycling really concrete, take your child on a field trip to a local recycling center and/or event and discuss where the things you use in your home go when you are done with them.

Produced by: Funding is provided by:
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© 2014 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. The Thomas name and character and the Thomas & Friends logo are trademarks of Gullane (Thomas) Limited and its affiliates and are registered in many jurisdictions throughout the world. The PBS KIDS logo is a registered mark of PBS and is used with permission. Thomas & Friends is a production of HIT Entertainment in association with THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. © 2014 HIT Entertainment Limited. HIT and the HIT logo are trademarks HIT Entertainment Limited.

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