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Teaching Your Children to Reuse and Recycle

By Jessica Ackerman

Teaching your children about reusing, recycling and taking care of the environment is a very important lesson that every parent should teach their children. After all, if we neglect our duties as responsible global citizens, our children are going to inherit a world that is very different from the one we currently know and love. Although it's an important lesson for children to learn, it doesn't have to be a boring or difficult subject. In fact, with a little bit of imagination and creativity, your children can actually have a great time while learning about environmental responsibility. Here are some helpful ideas you can use when it comes time to teach your children about the importance of reducing waste.

Make Recycling a Family Affair

Since children learn what they see, it's important for you to set a good example. If you already have a home recycling program, make sure your children are aware of it. Too many times parents simply take care of all the household recycling tasks, thinking that it wouldn't be of interest to their children. But, how will your children ever learn if you don't get them involved?

Recycling can actually be an activity that your whole family can enjoy taking part in together. Try to find a way to involve even younger children, so that they can become accustomed to the practice of recycling. If your community has a recycling program, make sure that everyone is doing their part to put recyclable items in the recycling bins instead of into the trash bin. If you can find a scrap metal recycler in your community, you might even want to save up your aluminum cans so that you can get money for them. You could then use the money you receive for fun family treats such as a trip to the neighborhood ice cream stand.

Learn to Reuse

When you really stop to think about it, it's amazing how wasteful we can be as a society. There are so many things that we use only once and then throw away, instead of reusing it or finding another purpose for it. Thinking of new ways to use items that are normally discarded can be a fun family activity, especially if you make a contest out of it. You could even give an award or a small prize to the family member who thinks up the best "reusable idea of the week."

There are also plenty of craft projects you can make with items that are normally thrown away. Look for fun "scrap craft" projects in books, magazines and online sites. Perhaps you could even institute a family "craft night," so that everyone can have fun using the materials that you've saved.

You should also teach your children that it's not necessary to throw things away after only one use. Plastic cups, paper towels, foil pans and a wide variety of other common household items can all be reused many times over, although many people simply throw them away after a single use. By teaching your children to reuse items, you'll be helping them learn to take care of the environment and save money at the same time.

Jessica Ackerman, writes for and offers aspiring home designers the opportunity to decorate with Fleur de lis metal wall art and candle sconces.

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