We are recycling for the next generation, so that our children can grow up in a world of fresh air and beautiful nature, rather than pollution and waste. They are an important part of the reason for recycling, so why not make them an important part of the process itself? Here are a few tips for turning our schools into environmentally sound havens of recycling.
Teaching about the planet, the environment and our roles as environmental caretakers can help to raise a generation of responsible young people to look after our planet in the future. Meanwhile, practical lessons about recycling, the dangers of rubbish and the fun of upcycling can get the young ones taking on the important tasks quickly and enthusiastically.
Make it fun
Without meaning to state the obvious, everything involving kids, especially young ones, needs to be fun. That might mean starting up a competition, getting a little bit crafty or colourful with the recycling. Whatever you do, make sure that the little ones are fully engaged with the message as well as the activity itself. Making sure that they understand why they are doing it and why it is important means that they're a lot more likely to understand and remember the lesson later in life.
About the most fun a child can have learning about recycling can be had during art lessons. Anything from animal costumes to bottle rockets can be made out of old rubbish, keeping kids of varying ages entertained in the process. Crafty recycling lessons can be incorporated into other subjects as well; animal costumes can teach about used during geography while bottle rockets demonstrate chemistry and rocket science. Get the students to bring the raw materials from home and ensure they're clean. It's not rocket science, unless you make it exactly that!
Recycling at mealtimes
Children often make the most rubbish whilst eating, whether this be the packets on the table or the food on their plates. Both can be reduced at lunch as well as at breakfast clubs. Firstly, while it's important for children to have filling, nutritional meals, it's also important for them to be given the opportunity to refuse portions that are bigger than they want. This stops food getting wasted and leads to a healthier attitude to food in later life. It's also important for packaging to go in the right recycling bins. Given that school lunch halls are busy, noisy places, it's crucial that bins and signage are large, bright and clear, positioned in central locations. Alternatively, lunch staff can be made responsible for getting rubbish to the right places.
Schools are like anywhere else
Schools produce the same kind of waste as any workplace, along with some home-type rubbish as well. That means that, just like anywhere else, they need standard, easy to follow recycling systems. Plenty of recycling bins and clear signage help to keep the system running. Bright colours and pictures are especially helpful when telling younger children what goes where. The responsibility for running the system can even be extended to older children who can play the part of waste monitors for extra credit, as long as everything is kept hygienic and safe.