Recycling and composting with children

Where we live, we have two large bins, the same size (one for rubbish and one for recycling) outside our house that is kerbside collected by the local City Council. The general rubbish bin is collected weekly and the recycling bin, fortnightly. I aim to keep both bins as empty as possible.

What we do though at home is keep an eye on how much rubbish we produce by setting up a space to collect food scraps (compost bucket), a general rubbish bin and a recycling bin (wire basket) which we keep under the sink. The large green rubbish bin was found in an op shop/thrift store (Ikea KNODD) and the compost bin I purchased from Kmart in Australia a while back. Both bins are what my children use in their Montessori classrooms. For younger children or pre-readers you could add a label with a picture on each bin to help a child determine what goes into each bin. Each of our bins are a different colour and size so that is one way to tell the bins apart. In my children’s Children’s House classroom they use two of the Ikea KNODD bins; one for rubbish and one for recycling (both a different colour), and they do label these bins with a simple picture as a guide. The compost bucket is already clearly labelled.

rubbish and recycling at home spaceMy eldest who is 5.5 years is particularly interested in recycling and enjoys sorting through the rubbish before bin collection day. The food scraps (compost bucket) goes into either our compost bin outside or our worm farm. The recycling and rubbish bin is sorted through and the hard and soft plastic is separated. We take the soft plastic items (such as bread bags) to a redcycle drop point at a local supermarket. The great thing about sorting through your rubbish each week gives one a good idea of what exactly we are throwing out. We can then look at ways to reduce our rubbish even more.

Rubbish and Recyling for beginners book

We purchased the above USBORNE Rubbish and Recycling; Beginners Series book by Stephanie Turnbull, from Biome in Australia. I have been keeping an eye out for books like these in the thrift stores but haven’t had any luck so far. This book discusses where rubbish comes from, what happens when rubbish is collected (where it is transferred to) and then what happens to that rubbish (landfill, incinerator, recycled etc).

You can see images of our compost and worm farm buckets on my previous Plastic Free July 2017 post.


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