How to Teach Kids to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Teaching your kids about sustainable living is the key to making a positive difference. Here are some ways on how to teach kids to reduce, reuse, recycle. 

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The average American disposes four pounds of trash on a daily basis. Waste is a significant problem that affects our atmosphere, the waterways, the plants, and even the fields. Fortunately, we can help make a difference by teaching your kids about the important process of reduce, reuse, recycle.

If you’re a parent or a teacher, here what you need to know about reduce, reuse, recycle, and tips that you can use to make the learning process easier.


Reduce is a way of cutting down our use of natural resources. You can reduce the use of electricity, gas, and water to make new items. Reducing is lowering usage from the start, which could help reduce energy waste through transportation and gas costs.

You can apply the art of reduction when on your bike, carpool, or when using public transportation. Examples of how to cut down on waste are like buying items that require minimal packaging,  avoiding disposable shopping bags, purchasing products in bulk, and using what is available rather than purchasing new items.


Reusing is the art of making use of what is already available. You can reuse some items like corrugated cardboard boxes to prevent more waste in the landfill, which reduces pollution and preserves natural resources.

Before throwing things away, determine if they might have another purpose. Reuse is different from recycling, but it can help conserve the environment.

Some of the examples of reuse include using refillable water containers, buying reusable items instead of disposable products, and repairing appliances rather than throwing them away.


Recycle is the art of taking trash and converting it into new items. Some types of recycling processes allow materials to have one or more uses.

Recycling is an excellent way to conserve the environment as it saves the use of raw materials that would be required to create new items. Furthermore, it reduces the use of energy, fights climate change, and improve the quality of water and air.

Some of the things that you can recycle are cardboard, magazines, textiles, electronics, metals, plastics, and glass. If we taught kids how to recycle some items, we would have a safer, healthier environment.

Examples of recycling include participating in a local recycling program, taking recyclable items to the recycling centers, and find retailers that accept things like used plastic bags, cell phones, batteries, and paint cans.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: What You Should Know about Rebuying

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To rebuy means to buy recycled items or those that were in use before. For example, you can take your kids to thrift stores for clothing. Also, you can get items made from recycled materials like wrapping paper, bags, cans, bottles, and dishware.

Why You Need to Teach Your Kids on the Importance of Recycling

Your children need to learn the benefits of recycling for them to embrace the idea and participate in the process. Reduce, reuse, recycle can be a fun process as well. Some of the benefits include:

Recycling Saves Money

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a fantastic way to save money. For example, when going for a shopping trip, explain to them that buying products and placing them in recyclable materials is better than opting for disposable packing bags.

Specialized packaging can be expensive than bringing your reusable bag from home. Help the children understand that reusable packaging is not only environmental-friendly, but it also saves you money.

Buying items in larger quantities is also another way to save money. Opting for small items in different bags only creates more trash and is expensive. You can also use reusable containers to separate bulk purchases.

Recycling Saves Natural Resources

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Helping your kids learn that recycled items can go into creating new products encourages them to participate in the recycling process. Explain to them how the cans and bottles can be recycled to create other equipment, thereby, reducing the need to use more resources which would be costly.

Recycling Saves Energy

Energy conservation is another benefit of recycling. Reusing items like aluminum cans and glass jars consume less energy than what would be required to produce a new piece from raw materials.

Creative Ways to Teach Your Children about Recycling

reduce reuse recycle: reduce reuse recycle

Kids are naturally curious, and as a parent or an educator, you need to come up with ways to make recycling a fun subject. Here are some ways to get the kids to talk about how to reduce, reuse, recycle.

Read Books on Recycling to Them

One of the best ways to help the kids understand recycling is to read up on the topic, you can find plenty of books to choose from that discuss recycling in an easy to understand way. Some books will explain why and how which helps to convince them.

After reading a few books, you need to discuss with the children how to start recycling around the house and the environment. You can also go ahead, show them the recycling bins, and explain to them why you have to recycle specific things and how they contribute to a better environment.

Make Recycling a Game

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, the same applies to the process of reduce, reuse, recycle. Find some fun websites with games that the kids can play to learn more about reusing and recycling.

You could also use bins or boxes to make recycling bins. To make this process exciting, have the kids decorate them with different colors and label them. Help your kids separate the various items that should go into each bin.

Also, you can create a game where the kid who gets all recyclable items in the right bin the fastest gets a prize. Explore other places outside the house where children can find things to repurpose or recycle.

Carry Out a Waste Audit with the Children

Another fun way to make your children accountable to reduce, reuse, recycle is to conduct a waste audit with them. Take a look at the recycling bins and find out if each of them contains the right materials.

You can get extra bins to enforce proper waste diversion. Carrying out these audits together will help you figure out on where you can improve and determine what other items can be reused instead of being thrown away.

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Be an Example

Kids learn through observation. They’ll practice what they see you do. You need to lead by example. Start by carrying reusable shopping bags instead of opting for disposable bags. You can also buy items that require minimal packaging.

Purchase items like shampoo and detergent in bulk and go for items sold loose in bins when possible. Teaching your kids the importance of reusing is essential. Buy reusable cloth napkins and mugs instead of the disposable ones. Moreover, you can visit charities and donate used items instead of throwing them away when you need to declutter.

Other ideas to explore include packing waste-free lunches, holding a clothing swap, purchasing reusable water bottles, and having a waste stream poster that reminds everyone where each recycled item goes.

Don’t forget to show them the results of recycling. Once the kids understand the positive effects, they will be enthusiastic to contribute to recycling.

Make Art Projects Using Saved Recyclables

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Art and craft is something most kids love, and you can use recyclables to make this work. Toilet roll papers, cardboard, egg cartons, old pasta paper, and fabric pieces are some of the items your kids can use to get creative.

For example, you can create a desk organizer out of old cans, make a guitar from a tissue roll, or create a bird feeder from a plastic bottle. Pinterest has plenty of craft ideas for kids when creativity runs out.

Provide Something to Motivate Them

Every kid loves getting an incentive for a work well done, why not use the same approach by giving them stars or pocket money once they collect recyclable items? Using this approach steers their self-esteem and boosts their motivation for conscious recycling.

Don’t forget to praise their efforts, as that will help them explore more ways to recycle different items around the house.

Take Part in Local Initiatives

Have your kids participate in recycling initiatives to learn more about how to use the available resources. It’s also a perfect chance for them to meet other kids who’ve adopted this habit and use the tips given to make their recycling more productive.

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Visit the Recycling Center Together

There’s no better way to encourage your children to explore recycling than bringing them along to the recycling center. You can Google on recycling centers near you and plan a visit.

During the trip, get to know people who work at the center and learn about where they take the recycled material. Some centers have volunteer opportunities that you can participate in as a family.

Teaching your kids about recycling doesn’t have to be complicated. Use the above tips to instill the importance of reduce, reuse, recycle to your kids; this will impact the next generation to come. We’ll have people who understand the importance of preserving natural resources and reduction of waste.