With global warming, vanishing marine life, and diminishing air quality – it’s no secret the environment is on a downward spiral. But instead of adding to the problem, encourage your children to recycle so they can be part of the solution.
Contact your neighborhood sanitation department to learn what types of items can be recycled and also to request plastic recycling bins for your household to use. If your sanitation department doesn't provide recycling bins, use plastic storage containers instead.
Demonstrate to kids how recyclables should be prepped before they’re placed in the recycle bins. Containers should be rinsed to remove food waste. And labels, tape and other adhesives should be removed from recyclables as well. Each recycle bin should be clearly labeled so children will know which items go in which containers. If kids aren’t old enough to read, take snapshots of each type of recyclable and stick them on the corresponding bins.
Encourage kids to recycle by assigning them the responsibility of recycling non-breakables such as plastic, paper, and aluminum. If there is more than one child in the home, divide the responsibility among them. For instance, Brandon can be in charge of paper and Sally can be responsible for plastics. To prevent accidental injuries in kids, an adult should always handle glass recyclables.
Encourage kids to mix and match old and new items in their wardrobes and play areas. Frequent secondhand stores and yard sales to purchase gently used toys and clothes. Give secondhand playthings a good inspection before bringing them home to your children. And be cautious of old wooden toys as they can sometimes be tainted with lead-based paint.
Every few months, help your child sort through his things to pick out clothes he has out grown and toys he no longer plays with to donate to charity. Doing this not only reduces environmental waste, it emphasizes the value of giving to others. Remember, all the toys and clothes that are donated need to be working properly and in overall good condition.
Allow kids to gather their aluminum cans and turn them in to a local recycling center for a little pocket change. Kids can add the money they make from the cans to their personal savings accounts.
Finding ways to get more use out of items before throwing them away can help reduce environmental waste. So instead of tossing magazines, buttons, paper scraps and strips of cloth, use the materials in arts and crafts projects.
Setting up recycling stations, mixing old toys and clothes with new ones, and finding creative ways to reusing materials are all ways to encourage kids to recycle, reduce environmental waste, and make the earth a better place for generations to come.