How to Start Recycling

What You Need:

  • Several pieces of poster board
  • Markers
  • Examples of recyclable materials

What You Do:

  1. Help your child research what kinds of items are recyclable and find out which one are recycled through your local sanitation collection service. If your local service doesn't take all recycled items, such as cardboard, research recycling centers or drop off points in your area where you can recycle those kinds of things.  Every little bit helps!
  2. Are there any items you can recycle that you are not currently recycling in your home? This is a great time to figure out!  Discuss with your child the best way to collect and separate the recyclable items. You can set up collection bins in a convenient area of your house.
  3. Have your child create a main poster illustrating what kinds of items can be recycled and what items cannot be recycled. Encourage them to draw pictures as well as include real examples, such as a can or a piece of cardboard on the poster. Then invite your child to decorate the poster however they like. They can cater it to your particular household and what your family recycles.  For example, if your family composts as well, they can include pictures of carrot tops and apple cores on the poster and write something like, "In my house, we even recycle some food to help make soil for the garden!"
  4. Hang the poster in your kitchen and brainstorm with your child ways to cut down your family’s consumption on non recyclable items, such as styrofoam.
  5. Have your child create a sign for each recycling bin in your home with examples of what item goes that particular bin along with any instructions, such as cleaning and drying recycled items or breaking down cardboard boxes before throwing them in the bin.
  6. When done, your child will have learned all about an important way they can take care of the planet, and will feel great about playing such a big role in the family's recycling routine! 

Every few months, help your child evaluate your family's recycling habits and ask if they can think of anything else that your family can do to help conserve. Learning about the different ways to "be green" couldn't be more important and teaching your child about these kinds of things at a young age is a great way to instill valuable habits for years to come.  Pretty soon, they'll be the family recycling officer, and proud of it!

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