I grew up in a home where we recycled for as long as I can remember. My dad is an environmental specialist, so he has a great amount of knowledge about trees, plants species and everything environmentally based that you can think of. It has always been an important part of our household to try and save the planet, one piece of recycling material at a time.
As I recently became a parent myself, I definitely appreciate the effort my parents have put into recycling because it really helps make a difference to our planet. It’s horrendous when you drive down a road and see garbage lying around everywhere. It almost makes you feel dirty just by looking at it, and many times, the trash is lying right next to the bin, which makes it worse.
Many people say they would like to leave a good planet for the generations to come. Other people say they don’t really care because the planet they have now serves them and who knows if there will ‘even be a planet’ left by the time the next generations come. The best way to ensure a beautiful, healthy, and safe future for everyone worldwide, is to create it. Teaching your children about recycling will not only teach them discipline and respect for the earth but also awareness about waste and an appreciation for resources and how to use them wisely.
Good habits are important to instil from a young age, but at any age thereafter too. It’s never too late, especially with recycling. When the foundation of treating the planet with respect and love is incorporated into your daily life it will be something that comes as second nature for the rest of your life. While you teach your children about recycling, they also absorb skills about patience, respect, responsibility and consequences.
It’s teaching them about saving money and avoiding waste. Energy conservation and how to save resources can also be learnt through recycling. By sorting your garbage, you can determine which things can be reused and put to good use, like newspapers, toilet rolls, egg boxes, glass bottles, aluminium tins etc. A lot of creative things can be made by recyclables, for instance crafts, paint pots and candle tins. The beauty of recycling is knowing that you learn how things you use can become other things you use again. Glass can be turned back into glass and newspapers back into newspapers. It is very valuable to know the goal and reward of recycling.
The other important aspect of recycling is to educate everyone on the dangers of adding rubbish back into the earth as landfill. Everyone needs to have a good understanding of the effect litter has on bird life, and sea creatures who eat the garbage, get sick and die. It is heart breaking to see an animal suffer due to our negligence as human beings as we are all responsible for protecting our planet and the creatures who live upon it.
Practical ways to implement recycling
Having different colour trash bins can be inspiring. Sorting all the different recyclables into the correct bins is fun for children to do as well. They can even draw or decorate pictures of what the items look like that should go into the separated bins (plastic, cans, paper, glass, tins etc). Each municipal area sorts their recyclables differently so make sure you find out how it should be sorted in your community. Recycling can be an easy process if everybody does their little part. So, make it fun for the whole family.
An important way of ensuring a healthier planet is by doing community service. Clean up your community’s parks, beaches, sidewalks, anywhere you possibly can. Every little contribution helps.
The phrase, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” is very important to remember and to teach to your children. These are three practical ways you can take care of the planet while keeping this phrase in mind:
Reduce: “To use less, is best”. That’s my motto when it comes to consuming things. Focus on using less things in your day to day life. If you just need one napkin, then don’t take more than one.
To consume less water bottles. Reuse sports ones or plastic ones when you are at home, school, or the office, or use a glass at home and refill it.
Reuse: If you have an empty shoe box, and you use it to keep or store things in, then you are reusing it, and that extends the life of the product.
Reusing plastic bags when you do your shopping, can save a ton of plastic. It is not necessary to buy new ones every time. Put the ones you have back into your car in the boot and use the same ones again and again. It will also save you lots of money in the end if you don’t have to buy new ones every time.
Another good idea is to donate old clothes, shoes, and toys. There are always people in need of them.
Recycle: It is not difficult to recycle. All you have to do is pay attention to where you are throwing away your trash. Put the different materials in the relevant bin instead of putting everything in one trash can.
Many cities have big recycle bins available in the communal area for paper and glass for example. It is then collected on trash day or once a month. This is called curbside recycling. You can also find your local recycle drop-off off centres and even buy-back locations.
Here is a list of the 5 most popular and easiest recyclable items:
1. Papers and Newspapers
I’m sure you all know where paper comes from, it comes from trees. 17 trees are saved with each ton of paper that is recycled. Recycle your old homework books and papers, magazines, newspapers or any type of scrap paper. It is good to know that new paper can be made from old paper instead of trees being cut down for new paper.
2. Plastic bottles
According to Recycling International, 5.9 million bottles are used per day across the world. Plastic bottles can easily be recycled and reused. Anything from water bottles, juice, sports drinks or even toiletry bottles like shampoo bottles can all be recycled.
3. Aluminium cans
The amount of energy that can be saved by recycling just 1 aluminium can is enough to run a television for 3 hours. Think about your favourite television program every time you throw away a beverage can in a non-recycle bin.
4. Glass bottles
Glass bottles and jars are really easy to recycle. Think of your honey jar or mayonnaise glass jar or even your coffee jar. The glass gets melted and then reused to make new glass jars.
Who would have thought that batteries can be recycled? Batteries contain chemicals which are bad for us and the earth, that is why it is best to recycle them. If they are put in a landfill, they might be burned with the other trash which will then release chemicals into the air. There is also the possibility that they might be left to decompose which will let chemicals infiltrate the soil.
I am definitely going to teach my son to recycle. We are currently putting our glass bottles, plastic bottles and aluminium tins and cans all in one bin in the kitchen, so it’s already part of our routine. We then sort them out in the garage into their relevant bins. You don’t have to have all the bins in your kitchen. Make it work for you and your household.
Recycling isn’t really difficult or as much effort as you might think. Just like anything, all you need is a bit of time and discipline to get used to the new way of placing your trash into different bins. Some stores even sell bins which are already labelled ‘Cans’, ‘Paper’, ‘Tins’. Before you know it, it will be second nature to sort it and you will be giving nature a second chance. So, happy recycling, and happy living!