Making Recycling Programs Accessible to Children

If you are involved in a school or other facility that caters to children, you may understand some of the challenges that come with teaching children what recycling means and getting them to participate. A few principles will help you set up a great recycling program in your facility that is accessible to children of all ages.

Having the Right Containers

The first thing to get right is the containers that you will use for your recycling program. Likely, you will have a mixed recycling bin that collects paper, plastic, and other recyclables. Asking children to sort out the different kinds of recycling materials can get complicated. The containers you use should be kid friendly and short enough to be reached by smaller kids.

Back behind the scenes, work with your roll off dumpsters team to aggregate the recyclable materials from the various bins around your facility. If you compound them into a single dumpster, it is easier for your dumpster company to make frequent pickups to keep your location tidy and healthy.

Labeling in a Kid-Friendly Way

The written labels that you see in many public places probably aren't enough for a kid-centered recycling program. For starters, make sure that the bins are all a consistent color for recyclable materials. Have labels that are visual rather than written. For example, you could have pictures of the types of items that do belong in recycling, plus crossed out pictures of items that don't belong in this bin.

Getting Kids to Be Hands-On

It's one thing to set up your program, but it's another to get kids to use it confidently. It helps to have an educational program that explains the reasons behind recycling, along with what the children should do to recycle. You could have practice bins where children try to sort their garbage into the correct bins. This is a great hands-on activity with immediate feedback to reinforce what the kids have learned.

Getting the Adults on Board

The last piece is to have the adults in the program be encouraging to children who are active about recycling. This could be in the form of verbal praise or another small reward such as a sticker. It's one way to encourage an important behavior that will affect a child for life, while also helping out the environment. Setting up a great recycling program in your facility doesn't have to be difficult with a recycling services company like East Central Sanitation & Recycling helping you out.