Updated: Jun 12, 2021
An average American buys approximately 13 plastic bottled water per month. What more the takeaway plastic food containers that we use for the sake of convenience?
Sure, these plastic bottles and food containers are recyclable. However, only 9% of plastic wastes is recycled every year. The rest are left in the landfill or floating in the ocean. Imagine the kind of world we are leaving the future generation. The only animals they will see are those in the zoo, and they might be stepping on plastic landfill instead of earth. This explains why it is imperative to teach our kids about sustainability. And one of the approachable methods they can learn is recycling.
Here's how you can do it: Start Them Young
If you want to raise an eco-conscious, the best that you can do is teach them young. It can be as simple as watching movies or reading bedtime stories about recycling.
For starters, we recommend watching/reading Dr. Seuss's The Lorax with your kids. Simon & Schuster's Little Green Books are also fun to read. Besides books and movies, you can also teach your kids about recycling through experiments. The typical examples are making newspapers out of old ones and scrap gardening.
Visit this link for possible recommendations on reading material centered on sustainability for young kids.
Keep it Fun
Speaking of experiments, you can teach your kids about recycling through games.
You can start by asking them whether an item is recyclable or not. Next, ask your kids to put the recyclable items in the right bin. Doing so allows you to teach your kids what items are recyclable and how a recycling bin looks like.
Jen Panaro of Honestly Modern devised a game called the Recycle Memory Game. The mechanics are similar to the Memory game; only the items on the card are variations of recyclable and non-recyclable items. For more games and fun ways to learn visit the Green Living Science YouTube account! Show How it is Done
Of course, the best way to teach your children how to recycle is to show how it is done. This includes identifying recyclable versus non-recyclable items and putting them in the bin. However, we always remind our clients at Maid Sailors Home Cleaning Services NYC to clean the recyclable items before putting them in the bin. This is to ensure that there is no food residue left. Otherwise, it will not be processed properly in the facility Depending on how old your child is, consider expanding the recycling lessons you share with them.
If you have a teenager who helps you with cooking and meal prepping. You can introduce them to scrap gardening or to turn scrap vegetables into veggie broth.
Grade school aged kids can be engaged by asking them how to turn trash into something useful can help. You are teaching them how to reuse an item while also honing their creativity.
The best way to recycle items is to reuse and turn them into something. As mentioned earlier, you can teach your kids to make new papers out of scraps.
There are other things that you can make out of recyclable materials, turning plastic bottles into bowling pins.
To do this you will need:
Ten empty two-liter plastic soda bottles.
Wash and let them dry before you put an inch of sand or pebbles inside And you now have bowling pins.
Another way to get creative with recyclables is through upcycling. It can be as simple as reusing mason jars to store homemade jams and spices. But if you are good with your hands, consider turning plastics or old magazines into yarn, and then knit them into bags.
Crafts regarding sustainability are easily accessible and fun for both kids and adults. For more ideas, check out Tara Block's post on PopSugar for more upcycling project ideas.
Eco Bricks are PET bottles (e.g., plastic water bottles) packed with clean and dry used plastics. This project allows you to reduce the amount of single-use plastics that you bring to the landfill. And this can be used as a sustainable alternative to hollow blocks.
The mechanics are simple: All single-use plastics should be washed and dried before shredding. Once shredded, put them in an empty and clean PET bottle.
Make sure that it is compact before sending it to an ecobrick collecting facility.
Another thing to remember is that some facilities have collection criteria. This can include the size and the minimum number of bottles they can collect.
Lastly, keep in mind that ecobrick is not an excuse to consume more single-use plastic. It is meant to compel you to audit your waste. The best way to reduce waste is to refuse it.
If one PET bottle took you a month to fill, it indicates how often you use plastic in your household. This means that your next PET bottle should take more than a month to fill if you are serious about living a zero-waste life.
Saving the environment is a responsibility that we all share‒our kids included. Hence, they must learn about recycling at an early age. Fortunately, there are various ways we can teach our kids how to recycle. This includes the tips listed above. Whatever recycling activity you, what's important is that your children feel empowered to do their part in reducing waste. It should also make them aware that recycling is more than just segregating their trash. Who knows? They might influence a friend or two to recycle in their homes as well.