Your home recycling program provides a perfect opportunity to introduce your children to the concepts of business, finance, and the environment. With families, communities, and businesses working hard to cut costs and protect the environment, recycling projects are finally becoming recognized for the financial and environmental benefits they can provide.
Children love to participate in family projects. Starting a home recycling project opens a world of opportunity to teach about different materials used to make products, which ones are recyclable and which ones are not, and the effects on the environment. You can also use recycling to teach basic family finances and business terminology. Once you have contacted your local trash and/or recycling service, you can educate your children about the financial and environmental benefits of using recycling containers.
A Picture Paints A Thousand Words
Start discussing your project with pictures and examples of various food and household packages, both recyclable and non-recyclable. Plastic drink bottles and packaging, glass jars, plastic shopping bags, soda and food cans, paper and cardboard are all simple examples of recyclable materials. Cellophane, mixed media (such as food jar lids), and hazardous materials can be used to illustrate what items are not recyclable.
You can tape magazine pictures of recyclable materials to your recycling bins to help younger children understand what goes in the recycling container and what does not. This is also a perfect time to start composting. Kitchen food waste can be added to an outdoor compost pile or simply buried in your yard. In no time at all, your yard will exhibit the benefits of healthier soil without the use of chemical fertilizers that are toxic to humans.
The Buck Stops Here
The next step is to show your children the financial benefits of using recycling containers. Explain to your children how much money the family spends on trash collection. You can also explain how trash must be stored, collected, transported and disposed of, all of which costs the community money which is paid in the form of taxes.
You can show your children how spending less money on garbage disposal helps the family financially. You can bring this message home by taking some of the savings and passing it on to your children in exchange for managing the recycling bins. Depending upon your children’s ages, you can offer payment for things such as monitoring the recycling bins, emptying the recycling containers, and rinsing out the bins for recycling.
The Business Of Recycling
Your children can learn basic business terminology by collecting and returning cans for the deposit or selling the aluminum, depending upon your state’s policies. All business finances are recorded in one of four areas: assets, liabilities, income and expenses. You can explain to your children that the tools of their “business”, such as the recycling bins, little red wagon, and trash cans, are their assets. If they have to borrow money from the family to purchase any of those assets, that debt is a liability. Liabilities are subtracted from assets for a net worth figure.
The cost of trash bags, garbage disposal, and recycling services are their expenses. Allowances, sale of aluminum, and can deposit earnings are their income. Expenses are subtracted from income for a net profit figure.
While it is difficult to place a monetary value on a safe and healthy environment, your children and their children are sure to benefit from using recycling bins.