How to Make Recycling Fun and Meaningful for Your Kids

optMore than ever before, people in Arlington, North Richmond Hills, and elsewhere in the DFW area are paying closer attention to toxins found in household products, looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption, and aiming for a healthier lifestyle. In the process, we’re taking more time and care to instill these values in our children.

At the same time, we still manage to generate about 4.5 pounds of trash each day per person, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And while recycling has become more common in recent years, only about 30% off all trash is sent to recycling facilities. The rest ends up on landfills, where it can take hundreds or thousands of years to decompose

So what’s a family to do

Well, for starters, recycle more. Teach your family to look for the recycling symbol before throwing something in the trash. And don’t forget to show your little ones additional, non-labeled, items that can be recycled. For example, explain that just because you place something in the recycling bin doesn’t mean that it will actually be recycled. For example, thin low-grade plastics often end up in the landfill because they can’t be broken down any further into something else. And plastic takes an eternity to decompose, all the while leeching chemicals like BPA into our soil and water.

Next, develop a family plan to reduce material consumption as one way to reduce litter. If you make your child’s school lunch, simply swap out the disposable sandwich bags, utensils, and paper napkins for reusable ones. Before you purchase something new, decide if you really need it, or if you can buy it used.  Choose items with minimal packaging (if given the choice, opt for paper, cardboard, or glass over plastic), and bring along reusable shopping bags:  they’re not just for groceries!

And don’t forget energy consumption! Turn off and unplug electronics when not in use. Set your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter months and a few degrees higher in warmer weather. Keep your heating and air conditioning system running at peak efficiency by cleaning filters regularly and having an annual cleaning and inspection.

Finally, reuse:  the third spoke on the “reduce, reuse, recycle” wheel.  There are countless fun projects and craft ideas you tackle with your kids while turning old items into new. For example, you can turn old t-shirts into tote bags. Make your own child-safe finger paint and store the rainbow of colors in clean, empty ketchup bottles. The possibilities are endless.  Grab some scissors and glue, cut your old jeans into even-width and length strips, and before you know it, you have a new set of coasters.  The possibilities are endless.

With the first day of spring just 3 short weeks away, now’s a great time to contact Optimum Air for our AC system tune-up and inspection service.  Not only will it help cut your energy costs, but your system will run better and generate cleaner air, too.