With global warming and overflowing landfills becoming a more pressing problem, many people are taking the personal responsibility to reduce their waste. By reducing waste in the first place and recycling the trash that you do produce, you can do your part to help the environment. But are there ways to make sure you are getting the whole family involved for the full impact?
There are some awesome strategies that you can use to help family members of all ages learn to reduce their waste and recycle to the fullest potential. Getting everyone in your household involved will make it part of your daily routine. Plus, starting young means that the littlest family members will create a lifelong habit of reducing their waste. Check out these family-friendly ways to encourage recycling and reduce your waste.
Proper Recycling Practices
If recycling is not part of your typical trash collection, seek out a recycling program in your area. This might come with a nominal cost or you might have to drop off your waste. But it will be well worth it to know that your trash isn’t ending up in a landfill.
Then, make sure to be aware of the proper procedures and materials that can be recycled. Some programs only take certain types of plastics for example. Many have a printable cheat sheet that you can post that is easy for kids to read and understand.
Teach your children to look at the numeral indicator in the triangle on plastic waste. This is the best way to determine if it’s accepted by your recycling provider. Oftentimes, plastic with a 5 is not as widely accepted as the other types of plastic. If so, make sure to keep those separate from your normal recycling bin.
Be diligent about cleaning materials before you throw them in the recycling bin. Not only will it keep your receptacle cleaner and odor-free, but debris-free containers are easier to recycle. Plus, rinsing containers before tossing them in the recycling is the perfect chore for young children.
When you have materials that can’t be accepted by your typical recycling provider, don’t chalk it up as a lost cause. Look for alternatives to get rid of your waste materials. Many local providers will take electronics and batteries for disposal and recycling. You can often even find places that will recycle waste materials like concrete and wood.
Reduce the Waste that You Produce
Reducing the waste that your family produces in the first place is one of the most significant steps that you can take. Putting a little planning and effort into reducing your consumption will pay off long term. You’ll see a reduction in your trash and even some cash along the way.
Take a no-waste approach to packing your kiddo’s lunches. Look for containers of various sizes that are safe and reusable. Bento boxes are also a popular choice for organizing lunch items. Make sure your little ones know how to properly reseal the containers and place them back in their lunch boxes after their meal.
When grocery shopping, remember to take your reusable bags to tote your purchases home. You can also take it a step further with reusable produce sacks. These eliminate the need to use wasteful plastic. Look for fun designs and bright colors and allow little ones to fill them with their favorite fruits and veggies.
A staggering 2 million tons of plastic water bottles are just sitting in landfills. Do your part and make sure each family member has a reusable water bottle or two to avoid wasteful plastic water bottles. Look for options in your children’s favorite colors or branded designs so they enjoy filling and using their very own water bottles.
Repurposing Waste as a Family
Sometimes the items that can be recycled seem destined for the trash. However, reusing them or looking for alternative ways to recycle them might be the answer. And it can be a fun and family-friendly activity as well.
Get your creative juices flowing and find ways to reuse your waste for art. Look for tutorials on YouTube to make paper beads out of old and discarded magazines and newspapers. Things like old detergent bottles or empty two-liters are awesome for art projects or to make up a new game.
There are many facilities around the country that create durable and usable furniture out of old plastic bottle caps. Decide on a goal piece of furniture to strive for and collect these caps as a family until you get to the weight you need for the item you want. Then, trade them in and pick up your new outdoor furniture. You’ll feel the satisfaction of repurposing every time you sit on your new recycled plastic bench or dine at your earth-friendly picnic table.
Get Others on Board
Many times it just takes a little nudge and education to help get others aboard the recycling train. This is especially true when enthusiastic kiddos are involved. So, use that energy to get others on board and significantly boost your impact.
If your area doesn’t offer recycling with the trash collection, look to get a company to service your neighborhood or subdivision. Oftentimes, when many homes are involved, it will be worth their investment to drive to your community. Make sure to spread the word to get as many neighbors involved as possible.
Designated dumpsters are a good alternative if this process isn’t possible. Make sure they are centrally located and clearly labeled. Communicate with community members what is and is not allowed to be placed in each one.
Your childrens’ school is another good place to start. Inquire about what type of recycling program they currently have in place. If there is none, volunteer to head one up and organize the effort. Oftentimes, it’s simply a lack of manpower that prevents one from being in place.
Helping the Earth, One Family at a Time
Your family has the potential to reduce waste and recycle whenever possible. With a little groundwork to get started, you can be a greener home and help the Earth and environment long term. And by spreading the word and helping others get on board you can make a huge impact.
So, call that family meeting and create your recycling and waste reduction gameplan. You’ll feel better about your habits and create lifelong eco advocates in your children. Plus, your family will be confident in knowing that you are doing your part in saving your trash from an eternal fate in the landfills.