Recycling for Kids

Teaching kids to recycle

Recycling for kids is one way to pass the baton of responsibility for a cleaner, eco-friendly future on to the next generation.

Teach Kids Why We Recycle

For your kids to embrace the idea of recycling it is best if they learn the benefits of recycling by actively participating in the process.

Saves Money

Recycling for kids teaches them not only to take care of their environment, but also teaches them not to waste. Saving money includes learning to "Precycle." This includes learning to make wise purchases and buying items that are packaged in recyclable materials. Often specialized packaging that cannot be recycled also adds more to the product's cost. Choosing planer packaging that can be recycled not only is eco-friendly but will save you money.

Another way to save money in relation to recycling is to buy items in larger amounts. Instead of buying several containers that go into the trash, buy larger amounts and separate the product into reusable container. This not only saves money but also creates less trash. Explain to the children how planning ahead and using your own reusable containers is part of the recycling process. Let them help separate bulk purchases into the reusable containers and have them count the containers when they are done. This is how many containers you've prevented from going into the trash.

Saves Energy

Using less energy is known as energy conservation. Recycling helps us to use things more than once. When you sort your trash this helps things like newspapers be used again to make more newspapers. The same is true for glass jars and aluminum cans. Doing our part in the recycling process saves energy and natural resources. In fact, in most cases it takes less energy to produce an item made from recycled materials than from new materials.

Saves Resources

Teaching your children that recycled items can be used to make new products empowers them to want to do their share. Let them know that those bottles and cans can be used to build skyscrapers, playground equipment and even the school bus that takes them to and from school.

Recycling for Kids as Part of the Family

Kids learn by example, and including them in the family's recycling efforts offers them practical experience they can carry with them into adulthood.

Include your children in the recycling process at home with projects such as separating recyclables from the family trash. These include items like:

  • Aluminum cans
  • Steel cans
  • Cardboard
  • Glass
  • Newspapers
  • Plastic bottles


Along with the above items biodegradable trash can be used to put nutrients back into the earth through composting. In nature, leaves fall from trees and cover the ground. This provides a protective layer that feeds the soil as it decomposes.

If you have trees in your yard, you can use the leaves in the composting process. Setting up a compost bin is a way to recycle leaves, yard trash and more. It is best to place your compost bin in a place that's easy to get to and near a source of water. Along with items like leaves and lawn clippings, you can include food scraps. To change these ingredients into compost, they will also need air and water. This helps develop the micro-organisms that change the recycles leaves, scraps, and clippings into compost, which can be used to enrich the soil in your garden, flower beds and yard.

When composting, it is important not to add plants that are diseased because this can spread the disease to other plants when used in the garden or around the yard. Other items you don't want to add to your compost bin include:

  • Animal products like bones, meat, and fats
  • Dairy products like milk and cheese
  • Oils
  • Pet droppings

Going to the Grocery Store

Aside from teaching your children to make wiser choices regarding packaging options, when you take the kids to the grocery store you have a couple of options to help them learn how to recycle. First, if you use the store bags, give your children the task of bringing the plastic or paper store bags to place in the recycle bins provided.

Better yet, don't use store bags. Many stores offer reusable bags to buy at a reasonable price.

Recycling as a Lifestyle

It's also important for children to realize that recycling doesn't stay at home. It is a way of life. Tell your kids how you recycle in the work place and if their school doesn't have a recycling program, talk to school officials about starting a school recycling project.

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Recycling for Kids