Teaching Your Kids the Importance of Recycling

Teaching kids recycling

Children are our future, especially when it comes to our planet. It’s no secret that we all need to dig deep and do our part to combat climate change. We can use our voices in elections, choosing candidates that put the planet front and center, and we can make personal choices to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We can also instill these values in our children so that they can understand the importance of recycling, and continue to fight changes as they grow up and have children of their own.

How to recycle
Involve your kids in the recycling process at home, teaching them which materials belong in each recycling bin.

How to get started

The best way to teach our children about recycling is to include them in the process. If you recycle at home, make sure that you talk to your children about it, and teach them about waste and the kinds of materials that can be recycled, reused, or reduced. Kids may not be able to understand the scientific nuances of climate change, but they will understand that trash and pollution will hurt wildlife and nature. Just like they wouldn’t like it if people started coming into their home and dropping off a bunch of garbage, the marine life and wildlife won’t like it if we keep throwing trash into their homes.


Start simple by teaching kids to recycle plastic, aluminum, glass, and paper. Allow your kids to be a part of the recycling process in the home. Instead of taking their juice box and tossing it into the “paper” bin, get your child into the habit of taking it or the pop-can to the recycling bins. If you can instill these values and make recycling a practice from a young age, they are more likely to continue to recycle in the future and teach those same values in their kids.


Dropping the recycling off in the recycling bin is the easiest first step. The second step is to engage your imagination. Start looking at recyclables as useful materials to repurpose and give new life. Turn plastic bottles into planters and start an herb garden. Create mosaic art from all the bottle caps that you save over time. Start a compost in your garden, creating healthy and rich fertilizer.

Reusing plastic bottles
Reuse materials in arts and craft projects, like turning plastic bottles into planters.


Involve your kids in the shopping process. Reducing starts with our consumer habits. Eliminate extra waste at the grocery store by bringing reusable bags. Buy fresh, loose produce and avoid the plastic bags, and choose products that don’t come with extra and unnecessary packaging that increase waste. Talk to your kids about the choices you make at the grocery store – and every store – so that they begin to understand how their consumer choices impact the environment.

Sunrise Sanitation provides garbage and recycling services to your home, business, or job-site in West Virginia and Maryland.

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