Teaching children to care for the environment is a learning experience that is an important part of growing up. It gives them skills in respect, empathy, patience, responsibility, and teaches them about consequences. But it also teaches them valuable lessons about sustainability and how we want to leave the world for future generations. Showing children how to recycle properly is like passing the baton to them for a cleaner and brighter future.
Throwing plastics, cans and paper in the recycling bin is more than just sorting the recyclables. It’s teaching young people about saving money by showing them how they can avoid waste. With can and bottle recycling, they learn about the benefits of cashing in the household recycling, as well as discovering that taking their recyclables to the Scouts helps to fund the groups. This learned appreciation for the value of money is a lifelong skill best learned young.
Kids also learn about energy conservation and saving resources, through recycling. When you sort your garbage out, you can see how much you can reuse and put to good use. Recyclables can be made into crafts, jewellery, paint pots, and papier-mâché. With that in mind, kids also learn that when they recycle newspapers, the paper will turn back into newspapers, and bottles into other bottles. When young people know that the things they use can become other useful things, it can give them better incentive to want to recycle. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the cycle of things?
Teaching your young ones the danger of rubbish going back into the earth as landfill is an excellent way of them developing an understanding of the ecosystem and how precious the earth is. Talking to them about the dangers of pollution the sea and into landfill will show them the importance of recycling. According to about.com, we use approximately 1.6 million barrels of oil every year, just to produce plastic water bottles! And plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose in landfill. Plastic bags take 10-20 years to decompose, while plastic bottles take 450 years.
Once kids learn to recycle at home, they can spread the word and make sure people are sorting recyclables at school, at their sports clubs and with their friends. A sustainable future depends on what we do today, and good habits can become second nature.
Get your kids involved by:
- setting recycling chores
- let them be in charge of bringing reusable shopping bags to stores
- let them sort the recycling
- decorate bins in different colours for each recycling category
- create a compost heap
- take them to donate their old clothes and toys
- have arts and craft time with recycled materials
- give them books about recycling that are appropriate for their age
Finally, learning by example is one of the most important ways to discover. When parents, teachers and leaders show good habits to children, they pick them up and imitate them. Showing young people how important it is to look after the environment, and recycle by doing it yourself is the key to a sustainable future and creating kids with a healthy attitude about our world.
The skills kids learn by recycling will create a sustainable world for them to live in. They’ll have a greater appreciation for the way things work, and a better understanding of our precious ecosystem.