Teaching Your Child About Recycling 

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – three great ways to teach your children how to conserve the environment. However, applying the 3Rs into our everyday lives is always easier said than done. Here are some tips on how you can help your child develop good recycling habits!

REDUCE

A study by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) shows that Singaporeans take 820 million plastic bags from supermarkets every year, an average of 146 plastic bags per person. This is an urgent call to curb the use of plastic bags. A trip to the supermarket with your child could be a learning experience. For example, bringing reusable cloth bags and ways to minimize food wastage. Before going to the supermarket, create a grocery list. Stick to the list and avoid excess purchases. Bring reusable cloth bags along to the supermarket and try not to use the plastic bags. This way, your child can observe and learn how to save plastic and reduce food wastage.  

There are many other ways to avoid using plastic goods. Instead of purchasing plastic mineral water bottles, bring a water bottle to school. Use reusable cutlery instead of disposable ones. Small steps will make a huge difference in the long run.  

Impulsive buying is common behavior among many teens today. When bringing your child out shopping, think twice before buying anything. Will I use this often? Reducing not only applies to reducing wastages, but also reducing unnecessary purchases. Teach your child to borrow instead of buying goods that your child won’t use very often. It is also a great way to save money.   

REUSE

Almost all materials such as plastic, cardboard and paper can be reused to create new things. Have you heard of upcycling? While recycling converts waste materials into new materials, upcycling adds value to the waste materials and requires less energy to process. Upcycling gives an item a better purpose. It needs more time and effort compared to recycling. However, it is fun and worth giving a try. You could make a pencil holder out of an empty can or sew old clothes into a pillowcase. The possibilities are endless. Just remember to be creative! An upcycling project could potentially be a fun Arts & Crafts session with your child.  

There is a saying that ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’ Does your child have a mountain of clothes at home, yet he or she only wears the same few outfits? If that is the case, your child’s wardrobe is most likely stuffed with clothes they have outgrown, or impulse buys. The Carousell application is a platform many Singaporeans use to sell their pre-loved clothes (provided that they are still in good condition). You could also declutter your home and consider having a mini garage sale!  

RECYCLE

There are two main reasons why households don’t recycle often: inconvenience and the lack of knowledge on the types of plastics that can be recycled. However, recycling nowadays is easier than before. In most residential areas, recycling bins are nearby and readily accessible. If you’re unsure of where the nearest recycling bins are, communitywalk.com has a map of all the recycling bins in Singapore. However, many would still find it much faster to throw rubbish down the rubbish chute at home. Hence, try making small recycling bins at home, decreasing your number of trips to the communal recycling bin. Your child can also sort the garbage easily and have the good habit of recycling.  

What type of plastics can be recycled? Most plastic bottles and containers can! This is why you and your child should recycle the plastic products at home. However, plastics such as PVC cannot be recycled. It is best to do some research before recycling plastics.  

You and your child can also practise recycling by donating clothes and toys to charity. Have a house spring-cleaning activity every 6 months with your children and put aside the pre-loved clothes, toys and any other miscellaneous items.  

Starting good recycling habits from young is important as your child will keep these habits into adulthood. By practising the 3Rs, let’s keep our planet clean!  

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