When it comes to recycling, the adage ‘Old habits die hard’ is probably true for many adults who, despite knowing the importance of recycling, slip into their past behaviours of carelessly discarding recyclable household waste instead of taking the time to sort and dispose of it properly.
In fact one recent survey has revealed that household recycling rates have stalled at 43% over the last two years and the Local Government Association is actively encouraging councils in England and Wales to introduce incentive schemes to encourage more property owners to recycle more.
Children, on the other hand, have grown up in a pro-recycling climate and are unable to remember the days where recycling was unheard of or a province of the green brigade – and this is a great head start when it comes to educating them in good practices for the future.
Swap and donate
Children grow quickly and are often the first to point out that a favourite garment no longer fits, but send the right message and don’t simply bin it. Involve your child by getting him or her to help sort through old clothes and take them to a charity shop or clothes recycling station – even those garments which are badly worn can be sold on by charities in ‘rag bags.’
If you send your children to school or nursery with a packed lunch you may not think twice about the non-biodegradable wrappers and packaging that they throw away at the end of each meal. Put together an environmentally-friendly lunch with the aim of including only packaging that can be recycled or reused; the kids will soon see how little they toss into the bin when they’ve finished eating.
The green party
If your child has a birthday coming up, make it an eco-friendly occasion. Use only recycled paper for invitations (or simply email them) and only recyclable materials for the birthday tea. Perhaps buy in organic food and dispose of waste on the compost heap in the garden. Send treats home for guests in reusable paper bags, choosing ones that are attractive to discourage them from being thrown into household waste.
Recyclable of the Week
Expecting children to instantly appreciate the wide variety of materials that can be recycled may be unrealistic, especially if they are young, so have a weekly focus on one material at a time. Make your child responsible for identifying any waste that is made from that material so they get into the habit of thinking before they bin. You can take care of the rest of the recycling in the meantime.
Make it fun
Help the children to understand that recycling need not be dull – as they don’t see the end product of their efforts, they may not be able to appreciate the logic behind recycling. Instead, enjoy craft activities with them where they reuse recyclables that otherwise could have been thrown away or challenge the kids to compete against each other to see who can recycle the most in one week, perhaps each taking responsibility for a different material.
Give them a surprise
A fun day out it may not be, but a family trip to the nearest landfill site may help the kids to understand the importance of recycling. You don’t need to go close; just the distant sight of the mountains of household waste, bin bag-laden trucks and scary seagulls could well teach your children an awful lot about their responsibilities to the environment; and it’s probably closer to home than they realise!
Practice what you preach
Of course, how efficient children become at recycling depends largely on the examples set by their parents and carers so, if you’re looking to turn your kids into die hard recycling enthusiasts, remember they’ll be looking to you for the lead.
What To Do With Masses of Recycling
If you decide to go full hog and overhaul your home you may be left with a lot of things. It’s always best to recycle what you can but there may be something that can’t be easily recycled. That’s where something like hiring a skip comes in handy. You’ll want to sort your items by what can be recycled and what can’t although your skip waste will also be sorted at the waste transfer station it ends up at.
Whether you’re looking skip hire in Manchester, London or Liverpool when hiring a skip be sure to alway choose a trusted waste management provider. Check they have a waste carriers license to ensure that you waste doesn’t get dumped but is recycled properly.