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We all want to raise our kids to be kind and conscientious, and recycling is a great way to develop those skills with very little effort. After all, by having kids take an active role in reducing household waste, they are contributing to a greener future. Plus, it’s easy to make this a fun activity, instead of a chore!  Here are some suggestions to get you started: 

Happy child recycling


Take your kid on a field trip to a recycling center! Learn all about what can and can’t be recycle in your neighborhood. Have kids check your work, they will love being members of the green patrol!

Decorate your recycling bins. Get the kids involved, use stickers or paint and have fun. 

Brainstorm other ways you can keep items out of a landfill. Kids love to sort things, perhaps those smaller empty plastic containers can be turned into sorting bins? Or maybe you can make a game for younger kids, having them find and match the correct lids for each container. Just make sure to wash them out first and check for any sharp edges! 

Have a recycling parade as you take things out to be sorted! How many instruments can you make reusing recycled items to use in your parade? 

Buy some fun Earth or recycle stickers and award them for their great stewardship.   

Help kids make the connection when you are outside enjoying nature.  Explain that recycling goes a long way in reducing pollution, which often harms the plants and animals outside. They will be surprised to learn that recycling reduces greenhouse gases, which helps keep the climate just right for plants and animals to thrive! 

Want to go further?

  • Take the one bag challenge! Get your family down to one bag of trash per week.
  • Weigh it!  Show your kids how many pounds of trash you are keeping out of the landfills by weighing your recycled materials. Older kids can graph it too, so you can see how much has been recycled over time. 
  • Discuss ways of reducing waste when out shopping. 
  • Research and invest in washable bags for your lunchbox.