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Global Recycling Day 2023: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Recycling

March 18, 2023 - Jenny Tsui

Recycling is one of the most important things we can do for the environment today. When we recycle, we turn old or waste products into something new. If we start doing this on a large scale, we will eventually reduce the amount of products we have to produce, hence using fewer resources from the Earth. For example, recycling paper can help us cut down fewer trees. It also saves energy, as it usually takes less power to manufacture products with recycled materials than to make new ones with raw materials. To celebrate Global Recycling Day, which every year falls on March 18, we prepared a recycling guide for kids.

Many types of materials can be recycled, from plastic to metal. However, not everything that is made of these materials is recyclable. For example, straws cannot be recycled, and neither can receipts! Read on for an easy guide to recycling paper, metal, and glass. For a guide to recycling plastic, click here

Recycling for Kids

Tips for Recycling Paper

Paper is made from trees, which are being cut down faster than they can grow. Fortunately, many types of paper, from cardboard to magazines, can be ground back down to a pulp and remade into paper. However, paper cannot be recycled infinitely. In general, it can only be recycled 5-7 times before it loses quality. As such, it is important to reuse and reduce!

When recycling paper, there are three things to take note of:

1) Any paper that is stained with food or oil should be thrown away, such as pizza boxes and milk cartons.

2) Some types of paper may have a plastic or wax coating, and therefore cannot be recycled. These include items like receipts, paper cups, paper plates, sticky notes, and wrapping paper. 

3) Shredded paper should not be placed in the recycling bin as they can jam the equipment in recycling centres. However, some specialised recyclers in your city may have special equipment to handle the small shreds, and may thus collect shredded paper for recycling. The best thing you can do is check with your local recycling facility.

Check this out next: 3 Facts About Deforestation for Kids

Tips for Recycling Metal

Metals are made of valuable minerals that we take from the earth. Because there is only a limited amount of resources on our planet, it is important to recycle metal. Luckily, almost all types of metals can be recycled. 

1) Many recycling bins accept drink cans and food tins. Just be sure to wash them before throwing them away.

2) Many big household items can also be recycled, from bicycles and furniture to pots and pans. However, this can only be done at a junkyard or a specialised centre. If they are still in good condition, it might be a better idea to donate them.

3) Most electronics such as computers, phones, and chargers can be recycled. However, they are usually taken to a metal recycling centre, or an electronics store that has a recycling programme. Same goes for big household electrical items, such as fridges or washing machine.

4) Batteries are usually placed in a separate recycling bin. Depending on where you live, there may be a battery collection bin in places like electrical stores, supermarkets, or libraries. Keep an eye out for them!

Tips for Recycling Glass 

Glass is made from raw materials such as sand and limestone. It is one of the most readily recyclable materials we have. Many glass items can be melted down endlessly and turned into new glass without losing quality. Doing so will help to save energy and reduce land and air pollution.

1) Glass bottles and jars can be recycled, as long as they’re clean! It is also a good idea to reuse them for other purposes, such as vases or to store stationery. 

2) Don’t put broken glass into the recycling bin! Broken glass isn’t recyclable, because it tends to be dangerous or require special treatment.

3) Some types of glass  cannot be recycled with your everyday jars and bottles. These items are made with different types of chemicals, which may contaminate the recycled glass. Such items include windows, mirrors, eye glasses, and lightbulbs. Some authorised centres might however accept these items.

Check this out next to learn how to recycle plastics: A Guide to Plastic Recycling for Kids

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About the Author

Jenny Tsui

Jenny is a writer and editor in the field of education. She is an aspiring environmentalist who hopes to inspire young learners to care for the planet – one article at a time!