Next Monday is National Recycling Day. Established in 1997, this annual day promotes and encourages recycling across families, classrooms and neighborhoods around the country. National Recycling Day is a great opportunity to teach kids the importance of recycling and how their small steps can make a big difference.
Start by talking with kids about what items in your home can be recycled – cans, glass and all paper products. Your local community should offer online resources that share details about what is recyclable, how to sort, collection methods, etc. My family keeps a list on the cork board in the kitchen. When it doubt we refer to the list. We even keep our bins clearly marked so that my kids know which bin to put the recyclables in.
You can also talk about what happens to these items once they are collected on trash day. My son has always been totally fascinated by the garbage truck and recycling trucks. For younger kids is a mystery what happens after the truck carts away the garbage. Its a great time to explain to children about how things sit in landfills and how its not good for our environment, which is why recycling is so important.
Marcal Small Steps has been making use of America’s recycled junk mail, magazines, newspapers, grocery lists, love letters, homework assignments and more since 1950. The company is proud that its paper towels, bath tissues and napkins are made by using America’s recycled paper – not by killing trees.
I visited the Marcal Small Steps factory last year and it was an eye opening experience. If you are curious to read about my experience (complete with pictures from inside the factory and of the paper making process) please click on this link, https://www.shescribes.com/2010/04/marcal-small-steps-factory-tour.html.
There’s a great storybook feature on the Marcal web site that shows the manufacturing process for recycled paper. You can check it out here, http://www.marcalsmallsteps.com/our-story.
If you’re looking for some other fun activities that will also educate kids about the importance of recycling, here are some ideas to get you started.
– Make Recycling Fun: Decorate your recycling bin with construction papers and put kids in charge of collecting all the paper or aluminum cans around the house.
– Homemade Paper: Yes – you can make your own paper out of old newspapers! Visit the Marcal Small Steps website for easy instructions: http://www.marcalsmallsteps.com/wp-content/themes/Marcal/pdf/K-2%20Marcal_11.19.09%20FINAL.pdf.
– Recycled Crafts: Gather old materials around the house and turn them into new uses. Milk cartons can turn into bird feeders (cut out part of the middle and fill with bird seeds). Decorate old sauce jars and use them for storage.
– Time for Kids: Older kids may enjoy this fun activity booklet courtesy of Time for Kids. Learn about the recycling process and solve a variety of fun puzzles. http://www.marcalsmallsteps.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Time-For-Kids-Marcal-Earth-Day-2010.pdf.
For some additional ideas, visit the Marcal website at www.MarcalSmallSteps.com.
*I was not compensated in any way for this post. I posted this information for the benefit of my site readers.