Recycling 101: Tips for Aussie families

Simple and fun tips to encourage children to support a more sustainable future.

October 21 2020

Why not make recycling a fun challenge? (Image: Getty)

Why not make recycling a fun challenge? (Image: Getty)

Revitalise your kids’ lunch boxes and go NUDE!

Create less waste by introducing NUDE (No Single Use Plastic) school lunchboxes. While this might seem like a daunting task, try utilising reusable containers, drink bottles and cutlery (if your little one needs them!) 

Donate, reuse or upcycle!

Durable, long-lasting plastics such as children's toys and electronics are often still working perfectly when they outgrow them. In these cases, consider donating or upcycling them to extend their lifespan.

Create some fun and friendly family competition

We all know children love games and a bit of friendly competition, so why not make recycling a fun challenge?

Next time you visit the supermarket, have a family shopping scavenger hunt. Challenge your kids to find products with packaging made from recyclable or compostable materials.

Or, become an eco-champ with recycling bingo. Learning what is and isn't recyclable is key to helping our future. This simple, ‘bingo style’ challenge turns the behaviour into a game, and  will help ensure your kids are considering what’s recyclable everyday.  

Try utilising reusable containers (Image: Getty)

Try utilising reusable containers (Image: Getty)

Teach your kids the basics

When it comes to learning about recycling, the basics are incredibly simple. Paper, cardboard, plastics and tin cans are the most commonly recycled items. So, start your teaching efforts here and expand as your kids progress.

A little confused? Have a look at the Cleanaway Recycling Hub for your one-stop resource on recycling advice, featuring an A-Z directory of everyday items and how to dispose of them correctly. Simply search for an item you’re confused about and check whether it should be recycled in the commingled bin, disposed of in general waste, recycled with a specialist recycler, or if you should check with your council for the rule in your area.

Taking charge and setting an example
As a parent, set a good example by following the recycling rules – your kids will pick up your behaviour! Children often copy or replicate what we do, so when your child sees you looking for the recycling symbol or cleaning out plastics, they are likely to absorb, retain and mimic this  behaviour.

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Get creative and have fun!
Make your recycling station more visually appealing with colours, graphics and rewards. Get your kids involved in the process to give them a greater sense of responsibility and ownership over household recycling efforts. 

Think outside the kitchen

Ask your kids to uncover items they can recycle from their bedrooms, tv room or outside. This could include the never-ending stash of books your family continues to accumulate. Important to note, hardcover books generally need their covers removed as they aren’t just made of paper. And of course, before you start disposing of your books into the recycling bin you should consider selling or donating them.

The bathroom is often overlooked when it comes to recycling, but is full of recyclable products and materials. Rinsing out your plastic shampoo, conditioner and body wash bottles is a great place to start - many of these products end up in landfill unnecessarily.

When in doubt, leave it out!

Recycling often ends up in landfill due to contamination, so if you or your family aren’t sure, it’s best to place it in your regular waste bin.