(ARA) - For modern families, being eco-friendly can be a big priority. That's why it's important to plant the recycling seeds in children early so their love for the environment grows as they do. However, because students spend significant hours in the classroom, teachers must partner with parents to develop habits that are relevant at home as well as at school.
The United States generated more than 243 million tons of material waste in 2009, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, Americans recycled only 34 percent of that waste. Statistics such as these present ample opportunities for teachers and parents to implement recycling programs through which young children can make real contributions to saving the planet.
Here are a few tips to get started:
Find the right program
Getting your family or children signed up in a recycling program often helps make learning more fun. Elmer's Products has developed the Elmer's Glue Crew Recycling Program as a resource for helping teach children how to show the planet some TLC. The program provides parents and teachers with helpful recycling-related lessons as well as hands-on projects to keep kids excited about recycling in their daily lives. Additionally, it ensures the plastic that glue bottles and sticks are made of is delivered to the type of facility that can recycle them, making sure they stay out of landfills.
Reduce paper use
New information is thrown at children everyday - often times in the form of sheets of paper. While using recycled paper is good, the added communications can pile up. Teach children to print only if absolutely necessary. Instilling selective printing habits in children early will cut back on paper waste and foster environmental awareness for the long-term.
Divide and conquer
The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that more than 30 million tons of plastic waste was generated in 2009 alone. Rather than having one universal trash bin, teach children to separate their waste across various recycling bins. Creating separate bins for materials - such as paper and plastic - will get children in the habit of sorting waste so they can recycle both at home and at school.
To help parents and teachers ensure the recycling message stays relevant and fresh, companies like Elmer's have setup online resources at ElmersGlueCrew.com and Facebook.com/GlueCrew so users can find new activity ideas and share success stories.