Teaching Our Children to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle
When kids see the trash from their home being taken away by a garbage collector, it can be hard for them to grasp that this garbage actually ends up somewhere else, like in a landfill, and doesn't just disappear. But when you adopt environmentally responsible practices in your home, you teach your children not only about where trash ends up, but also how they can work with you to produce less garbage and thereby protect the environment.
Here are some ways to put the four R's, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy, into practice in your home.
There are many ways you can reduce the amount of waste you create. Take your kids shopping with you and lead by example as you take the following steps to cut down on waste:
- Say no to disposable shopping bags. Bring your own reusable ones instead.
- Choose products that have the least amount of packaging.
- Buy in bulk when purchasing items like laundry detergent, shampoo, pet food, cat litter, and other household items.
- Avoid single serving foods that require extra packaging.
To reuse means to continue using the products you have, instead of disposing of them and buying new ones. You can teach your kids to get in the habit of reusing by adopting these policies in your home:
- Purchase reusable, rather than disposable, products such as mugs, dishes, cloth napkins, and metal flatware instead of paper cups, plates, and napkins, and plastic utensils.
- Use refillable containers, like water bottles and soap containers, whenever possible.
- When you must use them, show your kids how to take only as many single-use items, like paper napkins, as they need.
- Mend clothing and repair appliances and other products so that they can be reused, and have your kids help you sell or donate their used clothing and toys instead of throwing them out.
- Find creative ways to reuse items you might otherwise throw away. For example, find craft projects for used paper towel rolls, linens, boxes, packaging, and/or empty containers. Or donate them to your child's school to use.
- Use both sides of paper when printing from your computer.
Many products are recyclable, meaning they can be made into other products. Teach your kids to place all recyclable items, such as glass, aluminum, steel, paper, and plastic, in the appropriate containers around your home. Other ways to teach your kids about the importance of recycling are to:
- Participate in local environmental initiatives, such as recycling drives.
- Work with your local environmental officials to establish a recycling program in your area if you don’t already have one.
- Find local retailers that accept products like used batteries, antifreeze, motor oil, paint cans, plastic bags, and cell phones, and take these items there when you are finished using them.
At The Eco Fairy, our goal is to help you build a more sustainable life by offering you a line of reusable products. We offer products that last and that will help you reduce the amount of plastic you use.