Ready…Set…Recycle! 5 Ways to Get your Kids Involved Now

Up to 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, yet we only recycle about 30% of it.[1] Those are some disappointing numbers, especially considering how simple recycling can be. And the results are real; recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to listen to a full album on an iPod, and recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks!

Recycling is a crucial factor in taking care of the planet for the future generation. And members of this very generation can play a key role in helping the environment – starting now, at home. As a family, when you think of recycling, you should really think about the whole idea: reduce, reuse, and recycle. If you don’t need it, don’t get it. If you have to get it, get something that can be used again, and if you get something that needs to be recycled by the professionals, put it in the recycle bin. [2]

So how can you best promote recycling to your kids? How do you accurately convey its importance? How can you generate enthusiasm? Accomplishing this all is as easy as placing that soda can into a certain bin rather than the garbage. Get started now with these helpful family tips:

1. Set the example

The fastest way you can get your kids interested in recycling is to serve as a role model. As we know, children are extremely observant, and if you don’t take a minute to recycle the packaging and containers you use, you can’t expect that your kids will either. Children tend to copy the behaviors of their parents, and if you’re a recycler, they will more likely become one as well. Make it obvious by pointing out when you’re recycling something, and watch how quickly your kids follow suit.

2. Home Recycling Center

Select bins, boxes, or containers that your child can decorate or label for the various recyclable materials. Use paint, markers, crayons, paper, etc. – whatever sparks creativity and interest.

3. Give specific responsibility

Ensure your children feel involved by giving them a role in your family’s recycling process. One idea is to make them the “recycling monitor,” responsible for making sure items are being put in the correct bins each day.

4. At-home demonstration

Kids will feel more encouraged to recycle if they fully grasp the concept. Consider making something new out of old materials. For example, make a guitar out of an empty tissue box and paper towel tube, a desk organizer out of cola cans, or a bird feeder from plastic bottles. Your child will see “trash” in a whole new light.

5. Time for a field trip

Take the at-home demonstration one step further. A good family outing for a Saturday afternoon is visiting a recycling center, and even a landfill. This will allow your children to see first-hand what’s going on behind the scenes, and the reality of the fact trash doesn’t just disappear. Enormous trash heaps present a clear case of why recycling is so important. Meanwhile, recycling centers demonstrate the other alternative, and how the work children invest in recycling does really play a significant role in turning the materials into new items.

These recycling tips work, and the best part is you can dive into them now; when it comes to our environment, there’s no better time. Instilling the importance of recycling into your child’s daily lives now will ensure it’s a lasting effort, and more importantly, one that makes a true difference.

[1] https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-recycling

[2] http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/Importance_of_Recycling.php