5 Things Kids Can Do to Reduce Waste
The Earth is mighty, and its resources are vast. The more trash piles we create, though, the fewer its resources become. We only have one Earth, and we can each do our part to take care of it. Unsure of where to begin? We can start by reducing the amount of waste we contribute to landfills. Celebrate this Earth Day by putting into practice these five ways to reduce waste around your home.
Roughly 80% of the waste in landfills is recyclable. Recycle items around your home so you’re not adding to the unnecessary junk. Some common items that are recyclable are paper, bottles, cans, and cardboard. Another alternative to recycling is reusing. For example, if you finish a jar of spaghetti sauce, you can wash it out and reuse it as a cup, a planter, or a candle jar! Get creative with it and see how many things around your house you can repurpose. If something has no additional use, recycle it.
Every year, 80 billion pounds of food is thrown away in the United States. That’s roughly 219 pounds of food per person! You can play a role in reducing those numbers by composting your food scraps. Composting is the process of decomposing organic materials. During composting, microorganisms eat away at the waste and break them down into smaller nutrients, recycling them throughout the soil. You can start a compost pile in your own garden or take your compost to a community garden. Some compostable food scraps include fruits, vegetables, egg shells, coffee grounds, and bread. Things to avoid composting include meat, dairy, and oils. If you happen to have banana peels, turn them into fertilizer with our banana peel fertilizer recipes!
3. Pack a reusable lunch
Did you know that plastic makes up roughly 16% of solid waste on our planet? Not only is it hard to break down and decompose, but animals suffer when plastic invades their habitats. Help minimize plastic waste by using reusable materials in your bagged lunches! Instead of using a plastic bag to carry snacks, try using a washable container or reusable snack bag. Swap out plastic forks and knives for silverware or special dishwasher-safe plastic utensils. Even napkins can be replaced with reusable cloth napkins that can be washed when you get home. If you haven’t thrown anything away by the time you’ve finished your lunch, give yourself a pat on the back!
4. Turn off the tap
Washing our hands is a part of our daily lives (especially these days), but it has the potential to be extremely wasteful. Experts say that soaping your hands for at least 20 seconds is the best way to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all the germs. During those 20 seconds, it’s important to turn off the faucet. While 20 seconds may not sound like a lot, the average sink releases 0.5-0.75 gallons of water during this time. Even if you only washed your hands once a day, that would equal 183-274 gallons every year! Help conserve Earth’s precious resources by remembering to turn off the tap when you’re not using it.
5. Share waste-free habits by playing a game
Challenge your friends and family to a waste competition, and have a contest to see who can produce the least amount of waste in a week. Give everyone their own trash bag at the beginning of the week, and whoever has the least trash when the week is over is crowned the winner! This is a good way to practice waste-free habits as well as spread the word about the importance of moving toward a waste-free world.