According to the EPA, 75 % of America's trash is recyclable, yet only 25 % of it is recycled. Studies also show that children preform better socially and academically when they are involved philanthropic activities like recycling. Teaching your children to recycle can help them do their part to preserve the planet. They might also be able to make some money in the process.
Here's a quick guide to incentivizing your children to recycle:
Take a Trip
For children to truly understand how recycling works, it helps for them to see where the recycling process takes place. Many local recycling centers offer programs to educate kids and families. Many of these programs include a tour of the recycling facility.*
When you visit the recycling center you should also ask them about the type of goods that can be recycled for money. In many states, these products include:
- Glass Bottles
- Aluminum Cans
- Some Metals
Be sure to ask the recycling rate for each type of product returned.
*Note: check the recycle center's website for more information or give them a call before heading down.
Create Family Plan
Now that your children understand where and how the recycling process happens, it's important to incentivize them to recycle. Giving your child or children ownership of this process can be helpful. Have them answer these questions:
- How will they collect, separate, and store recyclable goods?
- What will they do with the money they make from recycling these goods?
When your children have concrete answers to these questions, you can create a family recycling plan, spearheaded by your children.
Track Their Progress
The less abstract your child's incentive for recycling is, the more likely they are to achieve their recycling goals. To make the process less abstract you will need to help them track their progress.
- Transform your fridge into a recycling goal board. Mount a magnetized dry erase board to your fridge and keep track of two figures: 1) how many pounds of waste has your child successfully recycled and 2) how much money have they earned for all their recycling hard work.
Although posterizing your child's recycling stats might seem a little odd, celebrating your child's commitment to recycling will make them more likely to keep doing it.
Teaching your child to be a more eco-friendly can pay dividends for themselves and the world. These tips can transform the recycling process into an activity that will enrich your children. Contact a local recycling center, like Main Street Fibers, for more information.