According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only 30 percent of consumer waste is recycled each year, which presents an opportunity for children to use their green thumbs and take part in saving the planet.
Following are a few ways to get children started.
• Show paper some TLC. Paper accounts for as much as 50 percent of landfill space. Rather than add to the waste, implement an easily accessed designated paper recycling bin where you use paper most in the home or the classroom.
Better still, put paper products to good use by challenging children to create paper craft projects. Then recycle any scraps when finished.
• Get crafty. In addition to paper products, all kinds of waste can be “upcycled” into useful or decorative items. For example, a painted egg carton can make a unique storage box for small objects like beads or paper clips, and tissue paper glued to a clean spaghetti sauce jar makes an attractive vase. The possibilities are endless – you will not only save trash from a landfill, you will inspire creativity.
• Better together. Recycling is often more effective when multiple people take part. Teachers can set a goal for their classrooms, schools or even individual students to recycle a specified amount of paper, plastics, aluminum and glass before the end of the school year.
Parents can support the effort by encouraging children not only to recycle at home, but also to take recyclable materials into the classroom to participate in the school’s project.
• Adopt a program. Encouraging children to take part in a recycling-focused program can develop valuable habits while promoting fun.
One such program is the Elmer’s Glue Crew Recycling Program, a classroom resource designed to teach children how they can be environmentally responsible. Throughout the year, the classroom or school collects empty glue bottles and glue sticks to recycle through TerraCycle.
For more information, visit ElmersGlueCrew.com or Facebook.com/GlueCrew.