It is important to teach our children about their environment and how to take care of it. It is never too early to start being conscious about our natural resources and the world we live in. Therefore we created this helpful infographic for children to inform them about recycling, and how they can help their environment and community. In the following article, beside the basic information about recycling, we provide additional tips and ideas on how to reuse things that are not needed anymore, and how to organize a green school fundraiser.
What Is Recycling?
Recycling is how we take trash and transform it into new products. There are several types of recycling processes that allow some materials to be used one or more times.
Recycling is good for us and the environment because it reduces the use of new raw materials to product new products. It also reduces the energy we use, improves the quality of air and water, and fights climate change.
All sorts of things can be recycled, such as:
- Computers and accessories
- Newspapers and magazines
What Is Reusing?
Reusing means combining reusing materials and using items that can be reused. For example, paper plates cannot be reused, and reus
able cutlery lowers the energy that is needed to make new products, and it also can be reused to prevent more waste in the landfill.
What Is Reducing?
Reducing is keeping our new purchases to a minimum. It is a way to reduce our use of natural resources.
Reducing consumption of physical objects is important, as is reducing our use of electricity, water and gas to make new products.
Recycling By The Numbers
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- If you lined up the plastic bottles tossed away each year, they would circle our planet four times.
- Energy saved from recycling a glass bottle can light a light bulb as long as four hours.
- Recycling saves money for our communities. Did you know that it costs only $30 per ton to recycle most materials? On the other hand, it costs up to $50 per ton to take garbage to the landfill. It takes $60 to $75 to burn it, which pollutes the air.
- People have been recycling their trash for thousands of years; ancient civilizations would melt down old metal products such as knives and swords and various metal household items to make coins and other new items.
- 75% of garbage is recyclable but we only recycle 30% in the US.
- The average person in the US throws out almost five pounds of garbage daily – that is 251 tons per year – per person!
- The typical American uses 17 trees each year in wood and paper products. Many of those products can be recycled.
- We toss away enough paper and wood annually to heat 50,000 homes for two decades.
- The typical American gets 500 pieces of junk mail annually. Most of this is simply thrown away. It takes millions of trees to produce all that junk mail.
- Recycle plastic bags by reusing them when you are at the grocery store or bring reusable cloth bags with you.
- Glass can be recycled many times.
- A single aluminum can will sit in a landfill for at least 500 years. All aluminum cans may be recycled.
- 17 million barrels of oil are used to produce the plastic water bottles consumed in the United States each year.
- If 25% of all American families used a reusable shopping bag, we’d save a whopping 2.5 bill bags each year!
How Does Recycling Work?
There are many processes used today to recycle all types of waste. Below is more information about how specific types are recycled every day.
- Aluminium cans
Children’s Tips For Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing
Recycling does not have to be difficult. With the tips below, anyone can recycle and help our environment for current and future generations:
- Reduce the amount of products you buy, use and throw away
- Set up a recycling bin. Your home should be equipped with recycling bins throughout the house. Make it easy to separate recyclables from other trash.
- Recycle as many cans, bottles, books, metal, aluminum, glass, newspapers and electronics you can
- Reuse things as much as you can – turn that old t-shirt into a car rag!
- Shut off the water when brushing your teeth
- Instead of paper napkins, use a washcloth for each member of the family. Keep the washcloths in a drawer for the week and use them at each meal. Wash them as needed. This can encourage the whole family to stop buying disposable paper products altogether.
- Unplug chargers for your cell phone when not using it
- Put your PC to sleep instead of leaving it running with the screen on
- Turn off lights you are not using
Do’s and Don’ts of Recycling
- Check local recycling requirements. Not every plant is set up the same way to handle the same items.
- Separate your items. Most cities today require that trash and recyclables be separated into different containers.
- Recycle paper containing staples or envelopes with plastic. The metal and plastic is eventually sorted out.
- Separate lids and jars, cartons and bottles so the containers can be crushes easily during the recycling.
- Recycle junk mail. Most adults get large quantities each week and most of it can be recycled. Glossy and matte paper is okay too.
- Remove caps from all glass bottles. Also verify if your community takes glass from curbside recycling containers.
- Rinse aluminum and steel cans to make them easier to process.
- Recycle empty aerosol cans and metal coat hangers.
- Separate e-waste. Most of it can be recycled but it generally needs to be taken to a recycling center and not placed in curbside containers.
- Try to recycle broken glasses and bottles. These should be thrown away.
- Throw yard waste into recycling bins. Grass clippings and leaves should be hauled away at the next brush pick up date or placed in a green yard waste container that some cities have.
- Try to recycle waxed cardboard or styrofoam.
- Recycle pizza boxes.
- Recycle auto parts, plumbing parts or any combination of metal and paper
- Put trash in the recycling bin. This can make the entire load into trash. Some cities will even charge you an extra fee if they catch you doing this.
- Recycle mirrors, fluorescent tubes, light bulbs or safety glass
- Recycle food. Food can be composted but it cannot be recycled. Also, all food cans, bottles and containers should be free of food waste before being recycled.
Recycling Projects For Kids
Below we’ve collected some neat crafts students and teachers can enjoy with recycled materials.
- Make a hanging garden – Large plastic bottles can be used as hanging planters. They can go home with students or be hung in the school as a lovely hanging garden to promote recycling in your school.
- Fashion a Popup Bracelet – Aluminum beverage pop tops become wearable jewelry, thanks to some ribbon ninja work. Put this video onto your interactive whiteboard to give your students the full 411 and then get crafting.
- Feed the birds – Get into the swing of spring by making plastic bottle birdfeeders. Talk to local nature stores about getting bird seed donated. Students can bring in bottles and build their own feeders.
- Aluminum Recycling Center – Students can work together create an aluminum can recycling center for the cafeteria or other school common area (like the teacher lounge!). Watch the video below to get the simple instructions, and learn how your classroom and school can make recycling fun and rewarding with Recycle Rally.
- Fun Recycling Fundraisers For Your School – Want to recycle, raise money for your school or program, and have fun at the same time? Try these recycling fundraisers at your school today.
Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
Taking our environment into consideration every step of the way in our everyday lives will benefit us on the long run in an invaluable way. Reducing our waste and recycling the rest are the best things we can individually do for our environment.
We hope you find this guide useful to build a successful recycling program for your home, school, and community. By all of us working together, we can continue to grow our recycling efforts so that we make a better world for all of us to enjoy.