Tips to raising the next generation of eco warriors

As parents, we often find ourselves thinking about our children’s future… What schools will they go to? What kind of character will they have? Will they become a sports star or a doctor? The questions you ask yourself are endless. In these reveries, do you ever consider the current state of global warming and the effect that this will have on their future? And what we can do today, that will better their “tomorrow”? We believe the answer is to raise a generation of eco warriors.

As parents, we can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand. We cannot pretend that global warming is someone else’s responsibility. Because the reality is that it’s not. We have a responsibility to our children to change our attitudes towards recycling, and help shape theirs. We need to make environmental consciousness a huge part of their upbringing… Teaching them why recycling is important at a level that they understand, and that it can be lots of fun! But where do you start raising a generation of eco warriors?

Interwaste have provided a few tips on how you can make recycling fun for your kids.

1. Think twice before throwing away left over food

Ah, the dreaded battle that most parents can relate to… Convincing your children to finish their food. Is your child (like most) defiant and does he refuse to eat that last bit of dinner? Show them which food items can be used as fertilizer in your garden, rather than throwing it away. By doing so, you are reducing the amount of food waste that your family generates. Which means that less rubbish piles up at landfills… And, of course, your children learn not to waste food which can be used in other ways.

2. Get them involved in using waste to change someone’s life

There are initiatives that you can get your children’s school signed up for that encourage recycling for a good cause. For example, the famous Tops & Tags project. This initiative encourages participants to collect bread tags and bottle tops. These are then weighed.

Once the set target (450kg’s of bottle tops or 50kg’s of bread tags) is reached, the school/church/individual or community that has signed up as a participant is provided with a wheelchair, which they are able to donate to a person or NPO. Getting your child’s school signed up is a fun way to teach them about preserving the environment. It also instills the value of teamwork. And it brings a level of consciousness to community involvement, through aiding those who require assistance.

3. Set up different waste bins in the house

Contact your municipality to find out what recycling programmes they have in place, and what days the recycling is collected. Once you have this information, set up a recycling station in the house. Have different bins for the various types of waste that can be recycled. An example of this, is cans, paper, bottles or plastics. If your children are old enough, put them in charge of the household recycling. Ask them to manage the sorting of the household waste. You might need to throw in a bit of rewarding to keep them motivated (hint, hint). Get them to make fun signs for each bin that show which bin is intended for which items.

4. Turn your waste into craft

If your children enjoy crafts, get them to identify waste items that they can repurpose and turn into their very own masterpieces. This can be anything from ice cream tubs, to coffee bottles or even tins. This will hopefully encourage them to use their imaginations and create works of art that can be displayed on your walls.

Remember that you are your child’s first teacher. Let’s lead by example and encourage them to become eco warriors! A warrior that can make a positive contribution towards environmental preservation for the future of the planet – their planet.

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