Looking for ideas to get your child not only on board with recycling, but excited about it? You’ve come to the right place! 

  1. Explain why recycling is important 

Before the “what,” talk with your child about the “why.” Explain that recycling is a way to maintain and protect the planet and leave it in a better condition than we found. You can start by reading books about recycling together. Here’s some to check out: 

When your child understands why we recycle and how their actions make an impact, they’ll feel empowered to make good choices and help others do the same!

  1. Reduce and reuse

As you teach your child about recycling, include the importance of reducing and reusing. Identify ways to reduce and reuse around your home—and make it fun! 

Turn craft time into reuse time! Create a fun scavenger hunt and find household items that can be turned into something new. A baby wipe container can become a box (that your child can decorate!) for their art supplies. Egg cartons can be used to sprout seedlings. Plastic bottles can become bird feeders. We even have some DIY project instructions. 

Image showing a DIY pen cap bracelet project.

  1. Make recycling fun

Recycling can be fun for you and your child! Here are some ways you can add recycling habits in your child’s everyday life:  

  • Play a trivia game and learn how long it takes for certain items to break down in the environment. 
  • Turn sorting trash into a game! How many items can you put in the correct bin? You can even try adding recycling to their chores—5¢ for every item they put in the recycling bin. 
  • Create a chart with your child to review the do’s and dont’s of recycling. 
  • Play I Spy when you are out for a stroll for items that can be recycled. Bonus points if you bring the proper equipment (such as gloves and a bag) to collect and recycle these items. 
  1. Decorate bins for recycling 

Help your child create cool collection bins for both curbside recycling and TerraCycle boxes for hard-to-recycle trash. Have your child label which items can go in each box—glass, plastic, and paper/cardboard for curbside recycling and TerraCycle-bound items in the other. When you’re done, place them somewhere your child can easily access!  

Host a trash cleanup with friends

Everything’s better with a friend! Coordinate a play date with your child’s friends at a local park or beach. Who can pick up the most trash before playtime? Try making upcycled items to hand out as prizes! 

Don’t forget to provide gloves for everyone and supervise closely. Tell kids what they can safely pick up, and they should ask you before picking up anything else. 

Sort curbside recyclable items as you go. If you’d like to truly #RecycleEverything you find, purchase a Zero Waste Box.

  1. Bring recycling to school

Teach your child that recycling isn’t just important at home, but everywhere we go! Here are some ways you can do this: 

  • Start a school project where your child can teach other kids about everything they’ve learned about recycling at home. 
  • Try reaching out to have a representative from your local curbside recycling center come and speak to the classroom about recycling
  • . Encourage your kiddos to sort items into the right bins at school, and to bring home hard-to-recycle items that you can send to TerraCycle. Bonus: Their friends will see them responsibly managing trash and can start their journey to being a planet protector! 

Want to go even further? You can bring TerraCycle to your child’s school! Encourage your school administration to set up a recycling center at school and begin collecting hard-to-recycle trash to send in through our free recycling programs. It’s free, and you’ll earn donations for your child’s school.

If you’re in the United States, we’re even giving you $50* for every 5** shipments of trash you send in through select TerraCycle free recycling programs. That’s $50 on top of the TerraCycle reward points you’ll receive just from recycling through our free recycling programs that can go towards school field trips, fun projects, supplies, and more! The more you ship in, the more money you bring in.

We’re so excited that you’re instilling the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling in your child. The effort you put in will have positive ripple effects for the planet for generations to come. Way to go! 

*All awards are points equivalent; payments occur on a biannual basis.

****Valid shipments must be at least 3 lb or the minimum weight to earn points in that program.

Shipments must be made through select free recycling programs listed here. 

Valid between 8/21/22-12/31/22

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