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Recycling Facts for Kids

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Who says recycling is only an adult thing?

Recycling’s often seen as a tedious chore taking time, effort, and money to accomplish. But if we try to understand why it’s essential and naturally integrate it into our lives, recycling can surely be a fun activity—even for kids!

Why kids learning about recycling is important?

Research suggests that children are better at understanding cause-and-effect relationships as they are more open to new ideas and naturally more curious and flexible.

Hence, it’s best to learn about recycling young to foster an environmentally aware generation. Introducing recycling principles and practices early on empowers kids to contribute to a sustainable future actively. 

What are the 5Rs? (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle)

One fun way to remember environmental initiatives is through acronyms, like the 5Rs – refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle! It’s simple and something that kids would easily understand.

It’s a set of principles that could lessen our waste activity’s environmental impact. Each R represents an action that could reduce waste and encourage people to live more sustainably.

So, jump in, and let’s see what exactly these 5Rs are, starting with the most preferred stage down to the last resort.

  • Refuse

We often think that recycling is the best option when there’s no need to recycle when there’s no waste at all! Hence, our first “R” is refuse. 

We discourage their production and reduce waste by saying no to unnecessary and environmentally harmful products. This includes avoiding single-use plastics and excessive packaging and opting for biodegradable and reusable ones.

  • Reduce

After refusing unsustainable options, the next best thing you could do is reduce material consumption. This means only buying what we need. So, the next time you go shopping, ask yourself, do I really need this?

  • Reuse

Reusing means using a material again for its original purpose. It extends the life of products, reduces the need for new resources, and limits waste. Examples of this are donating to charities and friends and reclaiming floors. 

  • Repurpose

If you can’t reuse, then repurpose! 

Repurposing gives seemingly disposable items a new purpose by creatively transforming or upcycling these to serve a different function. Turning your old tees into tote bags is just one of its wonders!

  • Recycle   

Down to our last and probably the most popular “R”—recycling! It pertains to breaking down and converting waste into new materials. It’s like breaking your helicopter Lego set and using the pieces to build an entirely different object!

Examples of recyclable materials are the following:

  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Tin Cans

Top ways kids can recycle at home

Recycling doesn’t have to be grand. After all, every little thing counts for our environment. Hence, even kids can start their recycling journey through these simple yet fun recycling practices at home. 

  1. Getting to know waste types and recycling symbols

It’s difficult for children to have fun recycling if they don’t understand why they’re doing it in the first place. Teach them about recyclable and waste symbols related to recycling.

  1. Starting with simple sorting 

Once they’re familiar with the types of rubbish, teach children the proper sorting of recyclable and non-recyclable items, and provide designated bins or containers for each.

These bins may include but are not limited to the following labels:

  • Paper
  • Cans
  • Glass
  • Plastic

You may even associate these with colours, making the labels easier to remember.

  1. Establishing recycling stations

Help kids establish accessible recycling stations throughout the house, ensuring they can easily deposit recyclable items into the correct bins. 

  1. Venturing into eco-friendly and creative crafts

Encourage recycling among kids by engaging them in creative and fun activities using recyclable materials. Here are some arts and crafts ideas for you:

  1. Composting and cultivating gardens

Starting a garden can be fun for kids to learn about growing their food and the benefits and importance of composting food and garden waste to the environment.

  1. Recycling scavenger hunt

Test their recycling knowledge through a scavenger hunt! In this game, you must prepare a list of the recyclable items they need to find and their corresponding points. The team or child with the most correctly separated recyclables wins the game!

  1. Getting families and communities involved

As your kids grow more familiar with recycling, build their recycling habits and sustainable lifestyle by engaging them in community green initiatives. This way, they’ll appreciate the importance of recycling and the environment beyond themselves.  

Now that you know what kids can do, take a look at these recycling facts for kids that might pique their interest in recycling.

Top recycling fun facts for kids

  1. Recycling started in Japan

Japan initially produced paper from mulberry, gampi, and hemp. But as more paper mills were built due to privatisation, paper recycling was introduced in 1031 to maximise the materials. 

  1. We recycle lots of paper

In 2018, over 52 million tons of paper products were recycled—an amount rivalling the weight of 350,000 blue whales. 

  1. Recycling saves trees!

Typically, producing 1kg of paper requires 2-3 times its weight in trees. That’s a lot, but recycling could save our trees. After all, recycling a ton of paper saves 17 trees!

  1. Recycled plastics can create clothing

Did you know that 25 two-litre plastic bottles can be used to make an adult polyester fleece jacket? 

Recycled PET bottles are sorted by plastic type from recycling centres. Then crushed, melted into pellets, and then transformed into fabric. 

  1. Glass is endlessly recyclable

Glass is fully recyclable, and its quality remains intact after repeated recycling. Moreover, you’re saving 15 kgs of carbon dioxide by recycling instead of producing new glass.

  1. Recycling is cheaper

Recycling most products costs $30/ton, while taking rubbish to landfills costs $100/ton. 

  1. Recycling is energy-saving

Recycling a single plastic bottle can save enough energy to power your computer for 25 minutes.

  1. Australia is a recycling leader globally

The Land Down Under has metal, building materials, and paper and cardboard recycling rates of 87%, 81%, and 62%, respectively. These are among the world’s highest. 

  1. Australians are the best newspaper recyclers

With 78% of readers recycling newspaper copies, Australia surpassed the US in The Old Newsprint Recovery 2013 report.

  1. Australia is among the top waste-generating countries

Although Australia’s one of the world’s biggest recyclers, it’s also among the top waste producers, with an average annual rate of 400 kgs per family. Recycling is a must.

These recycling facts for kids equip children with the information and tools to make informed choices and contribute to sustainability. But it’s still up to you to ensure that they continue learning and practising environment-friendly habits.

Related: How to Teach Your Kids to Eco-friendly Ways of Waste Disposal

At Paul’s Rubbish Removal Sydney, we’re huge believers in aiding and assisting the children of tomorrow to be environmentally conscious and savvy. Together we can make a real difference.

Invest in children’s formative years, have them learn recycling by heart, and we’ll enjoy a more sustainable future together.

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a Digital Content Writer for Paul's Rubbish Removal. Sarah is a huge advocate for recycling, environmental sustainability, health and well-being and has a genuine love for all sea animals. Keep up with Sarah by following Paul's Rubbish Removal blog!

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