Trash Traders

A 4-16 player iPad game for the classroom designed to help elementary students understand recycling, pollution, and sustainability

Developed over the course of one semester at the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center, Trash Traders is a classroom experience designed to teach students about recycling, pollution, and sustainable lifestyles. The centerpiece of this experience is a 4-16 player iPad game. The game is played across 4 iPads, with 1-4 students at each iPad. Each iPad serves as a different recycling center (paper, plastic, metal, or glass). These centers must sort the trash that comes in, processing trash of the center's type and trading away trash that is not of the center's type. If the trash is not dealt with quickly, it goes to the landfill and increases pollution. The players must work together to process trash into components that they can trade to other players or use  to create new products for the city, reducing pollution. 

The game comes with a companion teacher guide to help the instructor facilitate the experience as well as use the game as a segue to talking about recycling and sustainability in the students' everyday life.


Created an experience that requires students to collaborate and discuss in order to succeed

Developed a game that not only educates students on the consequences of pollution and the improper treatment of waste, but also utilizes the classroom setting

Produced a lesson plan allowing the game to act as a springboard into deeper conversations around sustainability