Autumn has arrived, which means kids and parents nationwide are in full, back-to-school mode. The change of seasons can mean changing of habits, especially when it comes to the three R’s: reducing, reusing, and recycling. But by implementing just a few, common sense practices into your back-to-school routine, you can teach your children all about the value of saving the Earth!
- Ditch the brown bag! Use a reusable lunch bag or make your own. Use a reusable water bottle and reusable food containers. Instead of plastic bags, plastic forks and paper napkins, use tupperware containers, cloth napkins or towels, and reusable silverware.
- Reuse last year’s school supplies. TIP: Flip through old spiral notebooks for unmarked paper. Three-hole punch loose notebook paper and then add it to your child’s 3-ring binder. No need to buy new notebook paper!
- If you need to buy new school supplies, look for products made of recycled materials.
- Old paper shopping bags make great textbook covers. Learn how.
In the Classroom
- Join an environmental club on campus (or better yet, start one yourself!). Environmental clubs are a great way for students to learn about environmental issues in their community. Students can organize recycling fundraisers for their school, coordinate school and neighborhood clean-ups, and volunteer for environmental programs like those hosted by Heal the Bay or Keep America Beautiful.
- Set up recycling stations in your classrooms and around campus. Every classroom should have a container for trash, aluminum, and plastic. Plastic bottles and aluminum soda cans, can be redeemed for cash. Teachers should encourage their students to recycle these items in-class and the revenue from recycling them can go towards buying classroom supplies. Have fun with it! Foster a healthy sense of competition by challenging other classrooms to see who can collect the most money for their teacher. To find a recycling center near your school, visit www.bottlesandcans.com!
- Paper can be recycled, too! Reuse scratch paper and set up a bin for recycling old school work, newspapers (even cardboard!). Just make sure all staples and paperclips are removed first.
To find information on how to start a recycling program at your school, visit CalRecycle.