We need to do a better job of teaching our children the importance of recycling on a daily basis.
Houston has a low rate recycling rate of 14%, even when compared to our low nationwide rates of approximately 30%, and the problem begins from a young age.
Here is something to think about: the city of Houston, combined with its suburbs, has a population of over six million people.
Can you imagine how much waste goes into our 15 landfills every single day?
How long do you think it will take for those landfills to reach full capacity if we each do not make recycling our re-usable items a bigger priority?
Everyday each one of us throws away something in the trash bin that can be reused into something useful again. Our children see us and do the same thing because if mommy and daddy do not see the importance of recycling, then why should they?
We all want our children to grow up and be able to live in a clean environment. Nobody wants offspring to inherit a garbage-filled wasteland.
In order to accomplish that, we need to teach them not only why recycling is important but also how to do it on a daily basis.
Most of our kids are being introduced to the concept of recycling in elementary school. I remember my 2nd grade science teacher spending a a month on the subject. It was tons of fun! We studied about it, watched videos about it and finally each had a project to do about protecting the environment.
Fun times! I am sure sure that millions of others had the exact same experience in their school.
However, all that knowledge is worthless if we fail to apply it in our homes. The following are three actions that parents can do to teach their children how to apply recycling to their daily routine.
Show Them How to Sort Recyclable Items
Take your children around the house and show them items that can go into the recycle bin.
Teach them how to sort out the trash from a young age. Turn it into a fun game and you’ll be surprise how quickly you peak their interest.
Many parents have had success in decorating several bins with pictures of what goes into each one (aluminum cans, plastic, paper, etc.).
This will imprint on them the items around the house that can be reused.
Show Them How Trash Affects the Planet
Bring your children to the beach or park, where you can point the trash that others have thrown on the ground. Talk to them how trash affects the animals.
Explain to them how they must do their part to help places like this stay clean. Bring some bags, gloves, and tongs to help clean it up.
Read Them Books about Protecting The Environment
Do you remember how sorry we all felt for the Truffula Trees when our first grade teacher read The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss?
There are other books that you can introduce to your children that will instill in them a love of protecting the planet.
Some of good reads you can buy them include The Adventures of an Aluminum Can, My First Garden and I Can Save the Ocean!
Set An Example Yourself
Never get into the habit of thinking that your little ones are not paying attention because they most definitely are. Your children will emulate what you do.
If mom and dad don’t care about recycling on a daily basis then they will not either. The whole family needs make recycling a habit that everyone participates in.
We each need to try to lower our carbon footprint on the world in a realistic way. This includes conserving water, turning off lights when not in a room; carpooling when possible and recycling items that can be reused.
Our schools do their best to introduce these lessons to our children, as they did with us, but its parents that reinforce these principals.
Our city has never been known for “being green,” like some other cities but with a little effort, we can each help to change that.