Five top tips for getting kids recycling

Getting kids to recycle is essential to make sure they know how important it is and to get them in good habits for the future. Here are some top tips on getting your kids recycling:

1. Education is the best way to encourage kids to recycle.

Make sure they know why we recycle and the importance to the environment. Explain what happens to rubbish when you throw it away and how it sits in a landfill site, rather than simply ‘disappearing’! Schools are now focusing on the environment, but make sure you let them know what recycling is all about on the home front too.

2. Build a worm composter.

Recycling does not need to involve throwing things away and organic waste has loads of ways in which it can be reused, a worm composter being one – and building one can be fun! You can buy a worm composter or make one at home (check online for detailed instructions). Compost worms are available from fishing shops and specialist worm compost stores (which can be found online). Once your worm composter is up and running, here are the things you can feed them:

  • Used teabags and coffee grounds, cereals, fruit, vegetable peelings, bread and green leaves.
  • Do not use any of the following: meat and fish, rice or pasta, cheese, cooked potatoes or grass.

After a few weeks, you can use the water from the composter as plant food and after a few months of composting, you can use the finished compost in your garden and start the process again!

3. Recycling is also about reducing waste, so get your kids to realise the importance of this; it will also have the added benefit of saving you money!

For instance, if they are drawing at home, encourage them to use both sides of paper rather than just one side.

4. Get creative and decorate your recycling bin!

Get your kids involved in jazzing up your recycling bin, maybe with an environmental focus, like flowers and trees to remind them of why we recycle.

5. Another fun thing to do with recycling is making your own recycled paper, and here’s how to pull it off:

  • Make two rectangular wooden frames measuring 21cm length ways and with a width of 15cm.
  • Over one of these frames, fit a piece of aluminium mesh or net curtain over the frame.
  • Do not cover the second frame.
  • To make the pulp, shred up paper and card and soak in warm water for at least a few hours (if possible, overnight).
  • If you have a liquidiser, half fill it with water and add a couple of handfuls of the soaked paper before blending or mash with a potato masher until it is a thick liquid.
  • Next, take a deep tray and fill it half full with water, adding two or three handfuls of the paper pulp. To experiment with your paper, you can use paint for colour or add leaves or dried flowers. Mix together.
  • Once you have mixed your pulp, put the mesh frame in front of you with the mesh side facing upwards. Put the other frame on top of the mesh and hold the sides of the frames together.
  • Fill the bottom of the frame with the pulpy mixture and let the water drain through the net or mesh, back into the tray.
  • Take off the open frame and turn the mesh frame upside down onto a cloth. Do not touch the pulp.
  • Lift the frame off the sheet of wet paper and place a sheet of newspaper on top, turning the pile (newspaper, wet paper, cloth) upside down by putting your hand underneath the cloth.
  • Peg the pile (as it is) to a washing line and then just wait for it to dry thoroughly.
  • When it has dried, your recycled paper is ready!

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