Updated: Jun 24, 2021
Why We Recycle
Recycling and playgrounds may seem completely unrelated, but they go together in more ways than you might think. Playgrounds are built for the outdoors, and kids will only enjoy them as much as they enjoy being outside. For outdoor play to be healthy, kids need clean air and clean surroundings.
Keeping the world clean is no small task, and what's most frightening about it is that it's not something that we can do on our own. It takes the collective effort of everyone on earth. And while it is impossible to change everyone's minds at once, we can at least contribute our own efforts. Our impact on the environment might seem inconsequential compared to that of the people in power, but it's the only thing that we have control over.
Getting Kids Involved in Recycling
Environmentalism isn't a way to be thanked or appreciated by others, since you're not helping anyone in particular. You're helping everyone a tiny bit, but especially people in the future. Younger generations and future generations are the ones who benefit the most from environmentalism, and the ones most at risk if our actions do not change. But we can show children that we care, and set an early example that they should take the state of the world into their own hands, by introducing them to recycling and environmentally-conscious attitudes when they are young.
If kids are taught to recycle early on, it will become a normal part of their lives. They will adopt the habit automatically, and continue doing it without a second thought. We can do this by teaching them how to recycle, what to recycle, and why we recycle. It can be done as easily as keeping a playground clean, using equipment that is made from recycled materials, or providing a clearly labeled recycling bin nearby for them to use.
Where to Recycle
One of the challenges to recycling is finding the right place to do it. Most neighborhoods offer curbside recycling, making it easy to simply leave your mixed recyclables on the curb every week in a marked bin next to your trash cans. However, this is not true for all areas, and some people may need to find a nearby public recycling bin to take their trash to.
In 11 states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont) there is even a program in place which rewards five cents (10 cents in Michigan) for each recyclable container that is returned. Grocery stores often have large machines which collect the cans or bottles one at a time, and dispense a receipt for the money earned.
While the amount of money per can is not a lot, it adds up surprisingly quickly. This can be a great way to get kids to have fun and feel involved with the recycling process, and even earn some money for themselves or for a fundraiser.
However, these collections focus on aluminum cans and glass or plastic bottles from soda, beer, or other carbonated drinks. Other recyclable material like cardboard, paper, and large plastic containers still need to be recycled in designated bins.
With so many plastic products that we use every day, it can be hard to tell which plastics are recyclable and which aren't. Many plastics are mixed with other compounds, making them harder to reuse. Luckily, all recyclable plastic has the recycling symbol with three arrows and a number in the middle.