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Matt Bradbury | January 26th, 2016


We all know little kids love to mimic a parent’s actions. This can be a good thing, like emulating your actions while you clean up your house (guaranteed to be a mess made by the little demon darling). It can also be a bad thing, like reciting your favorite adult words at the most inappropriate times (but doing it in the right context making impossible to get mad and just laugh).

The parental struggle is real.

Same thing goes for recycling, so show your kids the importance of the three R’s until it becomes second nature to them. It’s up to us as (mostly) responsible adults to pass the sustainability torch onto the next generation.

Here are some great ways to make reducing, reusing, and recycling fun for the wee ones in your life.



Recycling bins come in all shapes and sizes. Putting a bin in their room, in their playroom or the bathroom is an excellent way to get them into the habit of recycling early on. Making them feel like they’re doing their part gives positive reinforcement making it more likely for them to carry those traits into adulthood.

Use caution with a bin in the bathroom, it could become a makeshift potty when you aren’t looking.


This is an excellent way to get your kids to understand the different material streams and where they should go. Check with your local waste management department to make sure your knows what material goes where. Never assume what is and isn’t recyclable. Your heart might be in right place but that doesn’t always mean your recycling will end up in the right place.

Another great way to turn recycling into a game is by mixing a pile of recyclable materials together on the floor and have your child match the right item to the proper bin. Put a piece of tape on the ground and get them to work on their throw, even placing your container under a basketball net to make it fun. Games like these are sure turn them into environmentally conscious eco-warriors in no time!

Kids are obsessed with technology today so if the “hands on approach” isn’t up their alley, National Geographic Kids has an online game called Recycling Roundup where you have to help Gus the Gorilla speed clean a park, putting waste in its proper place. The EPA also has Recycle City, an interactive look of how different areas of a community handle their recycling and waste.


Show kids that sustainability goes beyond recycling by using various recyclable materials to create upcycled crafts. Here are some ideas to get you started.

You might also be interested in:
7 Things You Shouldn’t Compost
Shoe Recycling- How to Give Your Shoes a New Purpose
These Apps & Websites Will Help You Take a Bite Out of Food Waste
How to Be an Eco-Friendly Beach Goer
Some of the Cleanest and Greenest Beaches in the World