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Making recycling fun for kids

Kids have a powerful influence on the recycling habits of a household.  Educating them early is likely to have a lasting impact (and keep the adults on their toes!).

1. Have a chat

First of all it's important to discuss with kids why we should recycle.  And why is that, exactly?

Recycling is very important as waste has a huge negative impact on the natural environment.

  • Harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses are released from rubbish in landfill sites. Recycling helps to reduce the pollution caused by waste.
  • Habitat destruction and global warming are some the affects caused by deforestation. Recycling reduces the need for raw materials so that the rainforests can be preserved.
  • Huge amounts of energy are used when making products from raw materials. Recycling requires much less energy and therefore helps to preserve natural resources.

There are some great resources here on the Planet Ark page that can help you have the recycling discussion, including some fun colouring pages and word search sheets.

2. Get kids involved in recycling at home

One of the simplest ways to start is having a seperate waste bin for glass, recyclable packages and aluminium cans.     Another way kids can help is to put kitchen scraps in a compost bin, which can then be used to grow veggies in the garden.

Or, why not start a worm farm?

You might be surprised to know that there are a few things you shouldn't recycle.  These include broken crockery, window glass, polystyrene, plastic shopping bags (these can be recycled at your local supermarket) and nappies - they should all go in the rubbish bin.  Batteries, computer parts, car parts and tyres and other electronics also need special recycling - check with your council where to do this.  Here are Planet Ark's Golden Rules of Recyling - and if in doubt, leave it out!

3. Recyling craft!

One man's trash is another man's treasure, as they say.... one of the best ways to make recycling fun is to figure out new things to do with stuff we might otherwise throw out.   Paint and deocorate old tin cans and use as pencil holders.  Make a musical instrument out of an empty milk container and some beans or lentils.  Toilet roll finger puppets or sock puppets...  the ideas are endless, and it's a great opportunity to have a chat to your child at the same time about using things as much as we can before throwing them out.

Here are some really fun ideas to start you off.

Like this article?  Read more on Euky Bear's blog page.