Teaching kids to recycle

We are no longer able to gamble on how much waste planet earth can handle and its time to teach your kids a very valuable life skill from a young age.  So how do we teach children about recycling?

Kids learn best through copying their parents so there is a lot of evidence to suggest that if you make recycling a part of your life, your children will pick it up relatively easily, but we can’t all rely on that to be the only education they’ll get, because, let’s be honest, we’re not all recycling gurus – are we? 

  • A good mantra to start with is reduce, reuse, recycle. The 3 R’s are easy for kids to remember and don’t just focus on recycling. After all, recycling is the last resort when it comes to living a more sustainable life. 
  • Another great way to get them thinking is by involving them in recycling at home. Start small and ask them which recycling bag they think the cereal box should go in, for example, and as they gain confidence give them some more challenging options. Our only tip is to make sure you’re up to scratch before you start! 
  • Try talking to them about paper usage too. Next time they’re drawing a picture, ask them to use the back before getting more paper and explain why it’s better to reduce how much we use too. 
  • Reusing items is also a great way to show them that used things can have other purposes. For example, next time you’ve got an empty ice cream tub or a biscuit tin, pop something else in and make a point of showing them. 
  • Leftovers are also commonplace in a house full of children and food waste is a big problem. Show them how to turn leftover food into compost to feed the worms or even use leftover fruit to make muffins and cakes. 
  • Bath and bedtime are great spots to chat about recycling. Rinsing empty bottles in the bath is a fun game and makes them much easier to recycle. You could even swap to bars of soap, saving on packaging completely. 

It can be worrying for children to hear negative news about environmental damage and it’s important we focus on how they can make a change. Our children’s generation are likely to experience an even bigger shift than we have experienced when it comes to new environmental policy and action so the earlier we can begin the educate them, the better. For more information, head to YouTube and search for ‘kids recycling tips’ where you’ll find a whole host of videos and tips. 

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