Teaching kids how to recycle

If you like to take an eco friendly approach to life, your kids are probably used to taking their lunch in reusable sandwich wrap to school and drinking from stainless steel drink bottles after netball practice.

However, even though kids might follow your lead while they are at home, it is also important to teach them how to choose the sustainable solution themselves when they are away from the nest.

Here are some tips to get your kids thinking about the importance of recycling:

Brainstorm

In school, kids are generally taught to dispose of their rubbish in the bin. But getting out of this 'rubbish' mind set is a great first step to getting into the habit of recycling. Brainstorming with your kids is a great way to help them understand that not all 'rubbish' needs to be destined for the bin.

Get your kids to grab some coloured pens, a piece of paper and some 'rubbish' to work with – think aluminium tin cans or old plastic milk bottles. Then, challenge them to think of as many creative ideas for what these items could be transformed into. Once they're finished, put some of the best ideas into practice!

Make it a game

Kids love getting competitive, so turning recycling into a fun game is a smart option. A great idea is a 'recycling relay'. Organise your kids and some school friends into teams, and give each a pile of waste – recyclable, non-recyclable, and different materials such as glass and paper. Then, set up some recycling bins at the other end of your 'relay area'. 

Get each team to take turns at recycling one item from their pile into the correct bin. The first team to correctly recycle all their items wins!

Let them watch how it works

Kids love watching things grow as a result of their hard work, so starting a fruit and vegetable garden is a great recycling lesson. Your kids will learn that by providing their plants with composted, 'recycled' material such as banana skins and coffee grounds, they will grow delicious fruit and vegetables for the dinner table.

If you want to get even better at recycling, get your kids to research which plants can be 'recycled' from their own scraps. By re-planting plants like carrots and potatoes, your kids will learn that the plant they may have otherwise thrown away could grow them another perfectly good plant in the vegetable garden!