Earth Day is a great time to evaluate your lifestyle and see how you can be more “green.” Recycling is a great way to be more environmentally friendly, but many people see it as a chore. Well, it doesn’t have to be! Recycling is a fantastic way to spend time with your kids while also showing care for Mother Nature. Here are several recycling projects you can do with your family on Earth Day.
Earth Day Recycling Projects
Earth Day is the perfect time to start making your own compost bin. If you don’t know what composting is, it’s the natural process of decomposing food and yard waste. So instead of throwing things like used coffee grounds and eggshells in the trash, you can put them in a compost bin and let them decompose. Over time, it’ll create nutrient-rich soil that you can include in your vegetable garden. Composting also helps produce less garbage and lower methane emissions from landfills, so composting is a great place to start if you want to give back to the environment.
Did you know that less than 1% of the earth’s water is usable? The other 99% is saltwater or permanently frozen in glaciers. Additionally, the world’s water supply is not endless, so it’s essential to conserve water to minimize the effects of droughts and water shortages. There are plenty of ways to save water, but one option many people don’t think about is a rain barrel. Rainwater is considered one of the purest forms of water, and installing a rain barrel under your downspout can help recycle this water. Plus, many states offer a tax credit or an exemption for purchasing rainwater harvesting equipment.
Donate Old Clothes & Belongings
Do you have a couple of pants that don’t fit anymore? Or maybe your kids have some toys they outgrew? If so, don’t throw them in the trash. Give your unwanted belongings a second life and donate them! You can give your old stuff to charity or take them to a thrift store. Many shopping centers and malls have recycle drop-off stations in their parking lots if you’re short on time or unable to donate them.
How Does Recycling Help the Earth?
Whenever you do any of these Earth Day recycling projects with your kids, they might ask, “Why are we recycling?” If you get tossed this question, here are some good answers to tell your kids and teach them the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling.
- Reduce: It’s important to reduce things like electricity use to conserve energy, so make it a habit for you and your kids to turn off lights, computers, TVs, and appliances when you’re not using them.
- Recycle: Whenever you recycle things you don’t need anymore, you’re not only keeping these materials out of landfills but also the ocean. Plastic in the ocean is detrimental to sea life because they can ingest plastic or get tangled in it. Also, plastic can absorb chemical pollutants such as PCBs and DDT. This means that whenever fish eats plastic, you could be ingesting these toxins the next time you eat seafood!
- Reuse: When recycled properly, many things like plastic bottles can be reused. Recycled plastic materials are sent to a facility where they’re broken down into small flakes, cleaned, and melted into tiny pellets. These pellets can be used to make new bottles or something completely different — e.g., all-weather outdoor furniture. This process is far more energy-efficient than making something out of new raw materials.
Easy Eco-Friendly Swaps for Everyday Items
To help reduce waste, there are several everyday items you can swap for more environmentally friendly alternatives. Here are some suggestions to consider:
- Swap plastic straws for reusable straws made from silicone, bamboo, or metal.
- Ditch traditional zip-close bags for silicone resealable bags.
- Switch out single-use grocery bags for reusable canvas bags.
- Trade disposable tea bags or single-cup coffee pods for reusable ones.
- Substitute plastic water bottles for a reusable, glass or metal water bottle.
- Swap foil or clingfilm for beeswax wraps.
- Switch out traditional shampoo bottles for shampoo bars.
- Sub out a disposable toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush
Earth Day is a fantastic opportunity to give back to the environment and teach your kids the importance of recycling. Whether you go donate old clothes to charity or get crafty, you can use this time to connect and bond with your kids.
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