helping kids go green: recycling and repurposing

helping kids go green: recycling and repurposing

Written By

Heather Mildenstein

If they realize it or not, kids love recycling. There are so many fun ways to re-purpose containers, cans, jars, and boxes into something fun and useful. Then, when you’re done, move it on to your recycling bin or re-purpose again! Not only does re-purposing help with creativity, but it is also helping us be less wasteful.

When encouraging your children to recycle, make sure that there is a recycling container or bin that is easiy accessable to them. Kids love organization and systems, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get them to recycle. Have the bin clearly marked so they don’t confuse it with the trash.

Let your kids know what items can and can not be recycled. Below is a list you can share with them.

CAN Be Recycled:
writing paper
computer paper
flattened cardboard
flattened boxes
file folders
junk mail
phone books
shredded paper
paper packaging
paper bags
aluminum cans
glass bottles and jars (all colors)
steel (tin) cans
all plastic bottles, jugs and containers marked “1”-“7” or labeled “CA Redemption Value”

CAN NOT be Recycled (but some may be repurposed):
Disposable plates or cups
paper towels
carbon paper
plastic bags (NO plastic grocery bags, newspaper delivery bags or chip/snack bags)
drinking glasses
milk or juice cartons
light bulbs
clothing or shoes

The actual process of recycling is quite a facinating process that kids can be intrigued with. If there is a recycling facility near by, consider taking you children to see how it all works. In the mean time, here are a few interesting facts that you can read to your children to help them understand the importance of recycling.

-Recycling is the process of turning used waste and materials into new products. This prevents potentially useful materials from being wasted as well as reducing energy use and pollution.

-Recycled paper can be made from three different types of paper; mill broke (paper scrap and trimmings), pre-consumer waste (paper that was discarded before consumer use), and post-consumer waste (paper discarded after consumer use, such as old newspapers).

-Recycling old aluminum uses only 5% of the energy used to make new aluminum.

-Glass recycling is often separated into colors because glass keeps its color after recycling.

-For every ton of recycled glass turned into new products, 315 kilograms of extra carbon dioxide that would have been released during the creation of new glass are saved.

-Half of all soda bottles that get recycled will end up as carpet.

-Glass never wears out, and can be recycled over and over.

-Unlike glass, paper can be recycled only seven times. This is because the fiber length decreases each time, making the paper weaker. When you recycle paper, it is sorted, shredded, mixed with water and made into pulp to be reformed into new paper products. Trees are important to our environment because they help to keep our air clean. On average, each American uses seven trees every year in paper products.

-Recycling just one can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours. This is because making a can from new aluminum uses much more energy than making one from aluminum that has been recycled. It takes two months for a can to be recycled and returned to the grocery store as a new product.

-If a plastic bottle ends up in a landfill, it takes on average 700 years to decompose.

fact sources:
Kids Recycle Zone
Science Kids
EDCO Disposal