Five Easy Ways to Teach Kids About Recycling


If you don’t already recycle in your home, take this opportunity during the month of August to open up the conversation and get ready for an environmentally-friendly school year. Talk to your kids about the importance of recycling and how it can help our environment. Did you know that the average American family wastes about 150 pounds of paper per year? Teach your kids about where paper comes from and how recycling can help save the trees and forests. And instead of having our plastic containers making their way to the ocean, talk to them about how we can recycle plastic to make it into new things.

Here are a few other ways you can start talking all about how to reduce, reuse, and recycle …

Read up on It:  A great way to break down the basics of recycling is with a book. Spend some time this August reading a book about the topic — there are many you can choose from. After you’ve read it, talk about how you want to start recycling in your home and how it will help the environment. Here are a few books to help get you started…

  • The Lorax (Dr. Seuss)
  • Don’t Throw That Away!: A Lift-the-Flap Book about Recycling and Reusing
  • Michael Recycle
  • I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
  • Fancy Nancy: Every Day Is Earth Day (I Can Read Book 1)
  • We Are Very Extremely Good Recyclers (featuring the perennial favorites, Charlie and Lola)

Make Personalized Bins: Next, make recycling bins for paper, glass, and plastic. Let the kids decorate them however they’d like with images of what will go inside. This can be a great reminder and will help the little ones not get too overwhelmed. If you want, you can make a goal chart above each bin to try and see how much you’ve recycled in a week.

Make It a Game: Recycling can also be fun by repurposing it in your home. Try taking old water bottles and making them into a classic carnival game that the kids will have a blast playing. It’s a great way to show them that we don’t need to buy new toys when we can make them at home. This is also a great way to get the wheels in their head turning for new and creative options. You’ll be surprised at what they’ll come up with once they set their minds to it!

Create a Composting Area: Create a composting area in your home. Add vegetable and fruit scraps to the compost to be used in the garden. If your home is too small to accommodate a composting bin, research community gardens in the area that accept scraps for composting.

Visit a Recycling Center: Last, but certainly not least, take a family trip to the recycling center. You can use this recycling site to help you find a recycling center near you. Meet the people that work at the recycling center and learn about where all the recycled material goes. You can also find out if there are ways you can volunteer as a family at the recycling center.


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