Recycling Tips for Kids
It’s easy to teach your kids about the environmental impact of garbage on the planet. Simply make them remember the three R principles: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. You should make it a common goal among your family members to be fully informed about local landfills, the amount of waste they can hold, and the numerous and appropriate ways of disposing trash. Waste management is something that even your children can participate in. Let them know what they can do to help and teach them all the proper methods of waste disposal and management.
Garbage: By the Numbers
- Every ton of paper we recycle saves 17 trees.
- One ton of recycled paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, and enough energy to run one home for five months.
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to power a computer for 3 hours, and recycling one ton of aluminum saves over 10 years of household energy.
- Recycling aluminum cuts steel mill water and air pollution by 70%.
- A ton of recycled glass saves 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar.
- Five recycled plastic bottles make enough stuffing for a ski jacket.
- One dollar out of every 11 in food costs is spent on packaging.
- Each year, Americans dump 21 million shopping bags full of food waste into landfills.
Recycling Tips for Kids
We need to educate our kids about the different types of waste. In general, waste could be in liquid or solid form. Both of them could be equally hazardous. They can be grouped into three categories: organic, reusable and recyclable waste. To learn more about it, here are some key points:
- Liquid: Waste can come in liquid form. Some solid waste can be turned into liquid waste for disposal. Examples of liquid waste include water from your home and liquid cleaning agents and detergents.
- Solid: This type of waste is the most common form of waste that we produce. These include old tires, newspapers, broken furniture and food waste.
- Hazardous: Also called harmful waste, this type of waste can threaten public health or the environment. Hazardous waste can be inflammable, reactive, corrosive or toxic. Hazardous waste disposal should be strictly supervised or regulated by the appropriate authority. Hazardous waste include hospital waste, fire extinguishers, mercury-containing equipment, lamps, and batteries.
- Organic: Organic waste comes from plant or animal sources. They include food waste like fruit and vegetable peelings. Animal manure is also considered organic waste. They are biodegradable, which means they can be broken down easily by organisms at a given period of time and can be turned into compost.
- Recyclable: The process of recycling involves turning used materials into new and useful products. This is done to reduce the use of raw materials. Recyclable waste include aluminum products such as cans from sodas and vegetables, glass bottles, and paper products.
Once your family knows which types of household materials can be recycled, you can set up a recycling center. Place bins in strategic locations in your home, such as the kitchen and the bathroom. It is also important to label these trash bins for each type of material that has to be tossed inside — such as plastics, paper, aluminum, and unwanted items to be given to charity.
You can also teach your children how to reuse some types of household waste. Show them examples such as reusing plastic containers as holders for their pencils and crayons, or reusing gift bags. You can also set up a workstation for crafts and use empty bath tissue or paper towel holders as DIY toy structures.
Children can also be taught how to compost. Teach them that compost food waste can be used as a natural fertilizer for your garden or household plants.
Just keep in mind that recycling should always be done with parental supervision where small children are involved. They may come in contact with some older household items that contain lead paint, asbestos and other hazardous and toxic materials. For your safety, it is best to check with the Consumer Products Safety Division for questionable items and keep toxic and hazardous materials out of reach from your children and pets.
How do you practice recycling in your home? Are your kids involved with your household waste management system? Tell us your story in the comments section below.