All parents want to leave the world a better place for their children. While it sometimes feels like we don’t have much control over what happens down the line, one of the best ways to ensure that there will be a healthy planet for future generations is to teach little ones about recycling now so that they grow up with an awareness about waste and an appreciation for preserving resources. After all, our babies will inherit our planet®.
The earlier good habits are ingrained, the easier it is to incorporate them into your daily life. Here are some activities that will help kids understand what recycling is and how they can be part of it:
1. Litter in the park. Visit a park or beach, where you can point out the trash on the ground. Explain how this can affect wildlife like birds, which may eat the garbage and get sick. Bring some bags and pairs of gloves to help clean it up.
2. Make recycling bins. Sorting out recyclables is a surprisingly fun activity for young kids. Let them decorate bins with pictures of what should go in each one (paper, plastic, cans, etc. — depending on how the recycling is sorted in your area) and then give them some items to practice sorting. Explain how it’s important to put everything in the right bin so that it can all be processed easily once it gets to the recycling facility.
3. Bedtime stories. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, a classic, is a great way to give kids an early entrée into the world of environmentalism. The Little Green Books from Simon & Schuster are also fun reads and include titles like The Adventures of an Aluminum Can, My First Garden and I Can Save the Ocean!
4. Explore the rooms of your house. When recycling, we often mainly focus on the kitchen, but there are things you can recycle and reuse all over your home. Have kids walk into a specific room and point out what they think can be recycled — if you’re not sure, research it together. Whether it’s stuffed animals in a bedroom, paint in a garage orbottles in a bathroom, there are plenty of items that don’t have to be destined for the landfill. Go over how items can be reused or upcycled, too — old toys can be donated to charities, pants that are outgrown can turn into shorts and mismatched board game pieces can become jewelry. This will help kids get in the habit of thinking about where their outgrown items can find a new home once they’re done with them.
5. Recycling relay. In a grassy area, set up a row of recycling bins, each which accept something different. Then split a group of kids (elementary school age works well for this game) into teams and have them take turns running to the bins, depositing an item in the correct container, then racing back and tagging a teammate, who then picks up an item and runs to the bins. The first team to correctly recycle all their items wins. To add an extra challenge, include some items that can’t be recycled so that kids can learn what has to go in the trash. You may want to add a composting bucket as well.4. Explore the rooms of your house. When recycling, we often mainly focus on the kitchen, but there are things you can recycle and reuse all over your home. Have kids walk into a specific room and point out what they think can be recycled — if you’re not sure, research it together. Whether it’s stuffed animals in a bedroom, paint in a garage orbottles in a bathroom, there are plenty of items that don’t have to be destined for the landfill. Go over how items can be reused or upcycled, too — old toys can be donated to charities, pants that are outgrown can turn into shorts and mismatched board game pieces can become jewelry. This will help kids get in the habit of thinking about where their outgrown items can find a new home once they’re done with them.
WHY IS RECYCLING BETTER THAN A LANDFILL?
You may have heard that recycling is better than a landfill—but do you know why that it is? In this article, we’ll show you why you should CARE TO RECYCLE® plastic personal care products like empty shampoo and lotion bottles—instead of tossing them in the trash.
RECYCLING SAVES A LOT OF ENERGY
Creating new plastic products from recycled material (such as recycled shampoo bottles) uses only two-thirds as much energy as it would to manufacture these same new plastic products from raw materials . In fact, the energy saved by recycling one plastic shampoo bottle will power a computer for 25 minutes! 
LANDFILLS LAST A LONG TIME
If you don’t live near a landfill, you can almost forget that they exist. But landfills do exist, and the items in them last longer than many people expect. According to the National Wildlife Federation®, plastics can take between 100 years to break down in a landfill.  Recycling is a quick and easy way to help keep plastics out of the landfills for good—so they can be useful instead of simply breaking down slowly.
RECYCLABLE PLASTICS ARE IN HIGH DEMAND
Currently, there are about 1,800 US businesses who routinely handle or reclaim post-consumer plastics.  While it’s wonderful that so many business are devoted to this worthwhile endeavor, there is one problem—there isn’t enough plastic in the recycling stream for them to work at full capacity! Because so many recyclable items like shampoo, body wash and mouthwash bottles are routinely placed in landfills, not enough plastics are entering the recycling stream for US businesses to meet their full plastic recycling potential. 
HOW MUCH PLASTIC IS NOT BEING RECYCLED?
33 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2013. However, only 9 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2013 was recovered for recycling.  That means that millions of tons of plastic are currently sitting in landfills—where, as we’ve learned, they will continue to sit for hundreds of years, until they have finally broken down.
HOW CAN WE RECYCLE MORE?
Recycling in the bathroom is an easy way to keep recyclable plastic containers like empty shampoo and lotion bottles out of landfills. Visit CareToRecycle.com for recycling tips, recycling facts, videos, crafts, and much more information on the importance of recycling in bathroom.