When you give kids everything they need, they tend to think resources are limitless. That there are always more plastic soda bottles, books, and even sports equipment, so it’s okay to throw away the old ones. Without proper education on finite resources and the need to take care of our environment, kids will continue to go through life completely oblivious of the damage they are doing to the planet.
While most schools today teach kids to recycle and separate plastics from other items, it’s only a tip of the iceberg. Parents have the mandate to start teaching kids to recycle and be environmentally responsible from a young age. By doing so, maybe we can begin to reverse the damage our generation has caused on planet earth. At the very least, the next generation can trend more lightly and not make things worse than they already are. Teaching kids to recycle and reuse at an early stage of their life instills the principle in them, and it becomes natural, so it won’t feel like a chore when they are grownups.
Fun Steps to Get Kids Involved with Recycling
Undoubtedly, the easiest way to encourage recycling for kids is to lead by example. Make it an everyday habit at home to separate recyclable trash from the rest and recycle or reuse it. Your kids will grow up watching this, and it will be part of who they are. Involve them every step of the way and explain why you separate the items and everything else you do.
Other fun and simple ways you can help young kids to start recycling include;
- Play zero-waste games. Zero waste games have become popular on TV and YouTube. They are basically guides on what you can do with stuff you don’t use at home instead of throwing them away. For example, use egg cartons and broken plastics to grow herbs and veggies outside, use broken toys to make ornaments, and have a car boot sale or charity shop to give away old toys. Watch the videos together and decide what you will do with the stuff as you teach about stuff that decompose and those that don’t.
- Decorate your recycling bins. Recycling has to be an everyday activity, so it needs to be fun. Buy three trash bins and have the kids decorate them with images of what should go in each bin. Make sure you explain the meaning of each and show them with examples.
- Have a recycling and reusing contest. Few things motivate kids better than competition. The person who has recycled or reused the most at the end of the week gets a prize. This will keep their minds alert about how they dispose of waste because they want to win.
- Participate in local cleanup initiatives. Together with the kids, join your local cleaning and recycling initiative and use it as a teaching opportunity. As you go around town or the beach collecting plastics, discuss the effects of those plastics on the soil, water, air and animals.
- Give them incentives. Instead of giving them a prize, take all the recyclable waste to the local recycling center and get some money for it. Once the kids realize they can earn money for trash, they will always think twice before throwing away anything.
The world is currently amid an all-time high global warming and trash epidemic. This isn’t surprising as the average person throws away five pounds of trash every day. Teaching our kids to recycle and reuse will go a long way towards reducing this figure and making the world a better place.