Your never to young to recycle, and it’s important to educate our children and explain to them that the earth is their home and we have to do what we can to take care of it and respect it. Use examples like: writing paper, paper plates, and paper bags are made from trees. Let them know that when we recycle paper products, they can be reused and a tree is saved.
WHAT IS RECYCLING:
Start by explaining that there are three key ways to help the earth. Teach your kids about the three R’s, Reduce-Reuse-Recycle:
- reduce: this means cutting back on the amount of waste used in everyday life. For example, reduce waste by teaching kids to use canvas bags at the grocery store instead of plastic bags, don’t waste water, etc.
- reuse: reuse an existing item in your household in order to minimize waste. For example, reuse gift bags to cut down on paper waste or decorate cans or jars with stickers or glitter to create a unique pencil holder.
- recycle: recycling means when an object can be shredded, melted, or processed in order to create new raw materials; for instance, an aluminum can, paper and cardboard can be used to create new products
HOW CAN THEY HELP:
- First teach the kids what items can be re-used at home for notes, crafts, etc and which items are trash.
- Then show your kids how waste needs to be sorted to be properly recycled. Have separate bins for plastic, plastic, glass, paper products, etc. Most kids will love to be in charge of recycling at home. Have them make signs for the garbage cans that designate what goes where. Let them monitor everyone’s recycling habits.
- Teach by example. Make sure you practice what you preach and that you do all you can to set a good example for the kids.
- After the cans, bottles, etc are collected, take your kids to the recycling center to exchange them for money. Money is a great motivator and they will also be proud they are doing good for the environment.
- Have your children grow a vegetable garden. Explain to them that by growing their own garden they are saving on the packaging used to buy those vegetables at the grocery stores
- Organize a nature walk through the neighborhood or park and help your kids collect recyclable litter to help clean around your home.
- Donating unused items instead of disposing of them is a great way to recycle and help others at the same time.
It is important to start simple and fun.
Previous recycle tips can be found here at Don\’t Trash Our Future (Part 1)
On a personal note…..since I spoke with my youngest child (now 8 years old) about recycling, he has changed the way the whole family recycles. He is so excited to put a new can or water bottle in the bin that we all now look for them while we are out. I don’t think we ever really realized how much garbage you could bring home to recycle. And in today’s economy, the extra cash is an added plus. 🙂