Recycling at a Young Age

Published 06/19 2014 04:11PM

Updated 06/19 2014 05:16PM

One of the best ways to get people into recycling is to get them hooked on it when they're young.

That's one of the things that the Broome County Solid Waste Division helps with as it works with schools to get kids interested in saving the environment.

"Children are such a great source of energy and they look to do positive things. All of them have really great response to helping our environment. With school recycling, once you go in and teach the children what is acceptable as far as putting in recycling and what they can do to help and improve the program, they get excited. They take that message of recycling home with them and therefore it carries from the school to the household," said materials recovery manager Debra Smith.

Hopefully, that will encourage parents to recycle if they're not already doing so.

Recycling isn't complicated. In fact it can be fun, especially when you turn it into a competition to see which class can decrease their waste the most and even tie science and math into it.

"We talk to them about the simple things they can do in the classroom. If you have a paper that is only one side used, flipping it over and maybe using it for drawings or a scrap paper. Also, you're lunch, looking at what you're bringing to school maybe, your container that you're using. Instead of using a disposable bag opting for something like a reusable lunch box," said Smith.

You can also take reusable containers instead of zip-lock bags and a thermos instead of a plastic water bottle.

"Simple activities like making paper with them is a great way for them to see that you can take scrap paper, you can put it in a blender with water and make your own paper with it. It shows them that process that you can take paper, have it be recycled into something new and usable."

The simple activities are often done with kindergarten through second graders at schools around Greater Binghamton.

Older students can get lessons from representatives of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County.

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