1 Teaching Kids to Sort Waste

Our kids are growing up in a world where words like "recycling" and "composting" are common place. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they know how to recycle or compost. We need to teach them the same way we approach potty training, tying shoes or manners. Work together as family to come up with a process that works for you and then reward yourself for successes. Instilling these value's into the day to day activities of your child's life is a great way to put them on the path to living lightly

Keep It Simple!
Make it easy for them to make the choice of where their waste goes by keeping containers in the kitchen that they can easily access. That may mean having a smaller container just for them that is at their level or in a cabinet that they are allowed to go into.

Keep a chart in the same area that shows what can be recycled or composted. Use pictures rather than words so they can quickly see what goes where. 

Get Them Involved!
Involve them in your home waste audit. Together you can track the waste and where it is going, you could even have them track their own waste separately!  Just keep a tracking sheet on the fridge or on a tablet that they have access to and let them note everything they are disposing of and where they put it. Once the results are in come up with ways that you can reduce your waste together and set goals that you can track. 

Decide which items you can reuse or give to someone else to reuse.  Get your kids to start rethinking one time use!

If you have a backyard composter, let them take the organics to the bin for dumping and turning. Show them the results of all their hard work by using the compost that is made to feed your gardens. You could even let them plant their own garden and then they can use the compost they made on it!

Visit Your Local Landfill
Arrange a tour of your local landfill and recycling sorting facility. Show them where garbage ends up and how recyclables are sorted after your bluebox is picked up. Plus, every kid loves big garbage trucks!

Reward Effort and Success!
Give out rewards! If they put their waste in the correct container or come up with an idea on how to reduce the amount of waste you are generating give them a reward! Stickers have always worked well for us for potty training, manners and teeth brushing!  

Think Outside the Home!
If their school/daycare doesn't recycle or compost talk to the administration to see if you can help them set up the program! This will only help to re-enforce what you are teaching them at home and for some kids it may be the only chance they get to learn how to be eco-conscious. 

Go Beyond Sorting and Teach the 4th R - Refuse
Reward their decisions to select eco-friendly products or those with less packaging. Give them choices, explain the impacts of each product in terms they can understand and then let them decide. If you have involved them in your home waste audit you can easily link excess packaging to the impact it will have on your total results.

What are your tips to teaching kids to sort waste? 

Related Posts - Check them Out
Kicking Toxic Air Fresheners to the Curb
Upcycled Valentines
Conscious Kids

1 comment:

  1. That's a good idea to get kids involved in recycling/compost. I really need to look into setting up an indoor composting system eventually so my baby son can learn about it!