Teaching Children about Recycling and the Environment

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” — I recently heard my 4 year old singing this.

Children placing items in a Blue Box for recyclingSadly he didn’t learn this song from me, but as part of the curriculum at his daycare.  As I watched him take his 2 year old brother by the hand and show him that his banana peel went in the Kitchen Catcher and then get angry at him for almost throwing it in the garbage, I remembered way back when everything just went in the trash.  Now my kids master waste sorting, singing a catchy little tune while they do it — times have changed.

Thinking back to stories about my grandparents, they saved and reused everything.  They kept string, collected tin cans and packed lunches in reusable packaging — to throw them out would have been wasteful!

And then something happened: creative marketing.

Somewhere along the line, people were made to believe that our lives were too busy and complicated for reusable products.  We were told that we needed to buy water in disposable bottles (at a ridiculous price for the same water you can get out of the tap).  We were told that using a traditional mop and bucket was simply inconvenient and we were told that it was seriously uncool to bring a lunch pail.  The list goes on and on.

If you stop and think about it, we are all targets of excellent marketing campaigns!  The reality is that the environment is also a victim of these same campaigns, as we fill up our landfills with packaging and single use products.  At the same time, we empty our pockets, both for the products, and the cost of managing all of this waste!

But as I said, times have changed.  In the mid 1980s the Blue Box was a new concept in which people were expected to sort their waste into various categories for recycling.  This novel idea came with a lot of skepticism, but now you see a Blue Box in front of 95 per cent of Halton homes on collection day.  Today it is becoming taboo to bring a disposable lunch to school, and more and more companies are focussing on the “green” features of their products (yes, more marketing).  The Blue Box also now has the GreenCart organics program as a companion and it now feels odd to toss any food in the trash.

As I hear my kids sing their catchy little tune about the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), I have a renewed sense of hope that maybe tomorrow there will be even less waste.

Do your children enjoy learning how to sort their waste? Feel free to share your stories with me!

For those wondering, the words of the recycling song are:

3Rs Song

(Sung to “The More We Get Together”)

Reduce, reuse, recycle,
Recycle, recycle.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
It’s easy to do.

‘Cause your earth is my earth
And my earth is your earth.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
It’s easy to do.

About Nicole Levie

As a Waste Management Program Coordinator, I have the opportunity to work on various projects such as the Waste Management Guide & Collection Calendar, coordinating Special Waste Drop-off Days and enhancing recycling in apartment buildings. I enjoy the opportunity to work with people who want to do the right thing by reducing their waste and those who just need a nudge in the right direction.
This entry was posted in Education, Green Living, Recycle, Reduce, Reuse and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Teaching Children about Recycling and the Environment

  1. Pingback: My Mocha Baby » 5 Tips For Going Green With Your Kids

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