By Erin Tessier
Missed Part One? Read it Here.
After we took a look at our school’s overall recycling accuracy and took steps to improve it, it was time to bring that info to the kids. We have been talking all about recycling up in the Glenn the past couple of weeks. It can be a bit tricky for adults to figure out what is and is not recyclable so we wanted to give the kids a chance to learn about the process and items.
First we reviewed what trash is, where it ends up, and why we want to reduce the amount of trash we make. Then we talked about what “resources” are, as in things the earth produces that we use. The kids were pretty knowledgeable about what trees provide us…”Fruit, wood, shade, air, paper!” We went over all the paper products that are produced from trees and discussed how that “uses” up trees when we make those products. Then we learned that if we recycle those paper products we don’t “use” up the trees! It helps the earth and is a way to make old things into new things!
The kids were pretty surprised about the next resources and what they could be made into and then recycled. We talked about how sand makes glass, bauxite (ore) makes aluminum cans, and that oil makes all sorts of plastic products. If we use up those resources though we won’t be able to make more so we need to recycle those items. We passed around many types of plastics and the kids helped me figure out which ones were recyclable by looking for the recycling triangle symbol.
Lastly the kids helped me pack an earth friendly lunch using reusable items instead of disposable ones. Our parents do a great job of including reusable items and it shows. The kids knew which items to select for a more sustainable lunch. One area I see room for improvement in at our school is the use of Ziploc bags and disposable utensils. Although Ziploc baggies are recyclable if clean and collected with your other plastic bags to take to the grocery store, they typically end up in the trash. So using tupperware, resealable cloth snack bags, or bees wax wraps are a great alternative.
Disposable utensils are really a lose-lose. They are not recyclable so just end up in the landfill, and even the “compostable/biodegradable” ones only break down in an industrial facility. So it really does make a big difference if we pack those reusable utensils.
If you are in the market for more reusable lunch items below is a list of products that might be of interest. Also, here is a link to how to create your own bees wax wraps! It can be a fun activity to do with your children especially since they can pick their own fabric =) How to Make Reusable Food Wrap