Recycling is an important part of preserving the environment and taking care of the planet we call home. While you’ve been told time and again what effective recycling is, your children may not have the same knowledge. Therefore, if you want to be an eco-friendly parent, you will have to teach your children to recycle.
The good news is that recycling rates have increased steadily over the years. Only 6% of municipal landfill waste was recycled in 1960, but that figure increased to 32.1% in 2018. The growth of recycling is encouraging, but we still are not doing enough. This is compounded by the fact that population growth has significantly increased the amount of waste that we produce.
If we want to increase recycling, then we have to each our children good habits. As their parent, teaching your kids the importance of recycling is arguably as essential as teaching them any other life skill.
Most kids don’t get overly excited about recycling, however, which can make it challenging to help them start recycling and keep up good recycling habits. Earth911 has some great tips, but there are some more that they didn’t cover that we should like to discuss. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to get your kids involved in recycling. Just follow this advice, and your kid will be an amateur environmentalist in no time.
Most kids are creative by nature, whether they enjoy drawing pictures or making crafts. An excellent way to introduce recycling to your young child is by giving them their own recycling bin with which they can be artistic.
Let them write their name on it, paint on it, glue googly eyes on it, and do whatever else they want to give their bin personality. This will help recycling feel less impersonal and assign a distinguishable item to the action that should remind them to recycle every time they see it.
If you have multiple children, some healthy competition could make recycling seem more exciting. Give each child a recycling bin, and whoever recycles the most items (ones that are, in fact, recyclable) wins a prize. Whatever the reward is can be up to you, so long as it motivates them to properly dispose of any recyclable materials. And if one sibling lags behind, they’ll be motivated to increase their recycling efforts for the sake of the prize.
Many children learn from what they see, so one of the most effective ways to get them involved with recycling is by doing it yourself. You don’t have to be overbearing but make it clear when and why you’re placing certain things in the trash and others in the recycling. The more your children see you doing it, the more likely they will do it themselves.
Recycling is obviously important for the planet, but you can’t expect children to appreciate that at first. Children are often selfishly motivated, meaning that they usually want something in return for completing a task. When teaching your kids about recycling, an effective way to encourage them is by creating an incentive to recycle a certain amount each week. Whether they get a sweet treat or are allowed to stay up late an extra hour on the weekend, they’ll associate recycling with these incentives and feel compelled to do it whenever they can.
Recycling is integral to taking care of the planet, and helping your kids get into recycling will ensure the world is taken care of for generations. It might not be easy to get started, but once they learn what should be recycled and what should be trash, it will become second nature to them, just as it is to you.
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog enthusiast, and avid beach goer operating out of Southern New Jersey. She writes for Pennswood, a senior living campus in Pennsylvania.