Samantha Lynch, dean at Westfield Preparatory High School, knows that recycling is more than just tossing a plastic bottle in the little blue bin at the office. It can take on different forms and be used for far more than just plastic.
Lynch believes it’s important to instill good recycling and environmental habits in younger students so that it becomes a norm as they grow up. “Things such as reusing containers or purchasing goods in less packaging are examples of small changes they can incorporate in their daily lives that over a lifetime can have a substantial impact on the planet,” she said.
While National Recycling Day was on Nov. 15, it’s something kids can do year-round. Check out her top 10 kid-friendly, earth conscious tips:
- Reuse containers. Instead of throwing out plastic containers, jars, or bags, reuse them for storage or leftovers.
- Bring your own containers. It’s as easy as taking your own grocery bag to the store or using a reusable water bottle.
- Opt for paper straws, no straws, or have your own reusable one.
- Be clothing conscious. Find a new purpose for old clothes, be mindful of where new clothes are made, and take care of the clothes you have to make them last.
- Host a bottle drive. Schools can use bottle drives as a fundraiser and a way to recycle. They can even use the raised money to create more recycling options in the building.
- Turn the water off when you’re brushing teeth, and empty unused water into potted plants.
- Reuse scraps for a garden. Compost things like apple cores, coffee grounds, and rinsed-out eggshells to start a compost pile at home.
- Make conscious food choices. Think about where your food came from – is it local? Do you know the farming practices that were used? What about your waste – are you using all of your food or throwing some of it out?
- Get creative with upcycling. Upcycling has grown in popularity recently, but it’s more than a trend. There’s a lot to be said for this philosophy. Instead of throwing something out after its use, or traditionally recycling it, you can use it differently or make it into something else with another use.
- Find an expert! Kids can follow along with people like Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg, and Bill Nye to learn more about how to be kind to the planet and be an advocate.
Westfield Preparatory High School, a school in Redford Charter Twp., Michigan, is a partner school in the National Heritage Academies network of over 90 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.