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Saving Money & the Environment: A Kid's Guide to Recycling

You've probably seen your parents sorting pieces of trash into recycling bins, but why exactly do we recycle? In the past, over many years, people were not very careful about the trash that they threw out. This meant that landfills were just about bursting with mountains of trash! Since a lot of our trash is made from man-made materials, it does not break down very easily. It stays in the landfills for a long time, sometimes thousands of years or even longer. If our trash doesn't break down, quite soon we won't have any more space for it to go. Even worse, it adds to the pollution on Earth and harms all living things.

To help put an end to this problem, we can recycle. To recycle, we first take a look at our trash. Many materials such as paper, metal, and plastic can be placed in recycling bins. These bins are sent to a recycling center where they use special techniques and machinery to turn those materials into new goods. Organic materials, like fruit or vegetable peelings, dryer lint, coffee grounds and teabags can be composted. Composting is a method that allows these materials to deteriorate and turn into healthy, rich soil. Another way of recycling is to reuse items ourselves! For example, we can take ordinary items like egg cartons or coffee tins and create useful and attractive arts or crafts pieces with them. For things like old clothes or toys, instead of throwing them in the trash, ask your parents if you could donate them to a second-hand store instead. Even more complicated things like electronic devices, computers, and batteries can be recycled. There are many special recycling centers for these items in each state. They recycle electronics and batteries in a safe way so that any dangerous chemicals do not leak out into the atmosphere. Another idea is to hold a yard sale. It's a lot of fun and you can make a bit of money from it too!

Kids can be an enormous help when it comes to recycling. Apart from simply helping to sort items into the right bins, you can also make people aware of recycling. Believe it or not, there are still many people who do not recycle, or perhaps they simply don't know a lot about recycling. By explaining to them the advantages of recycling, you can help to spread the word. A different way to go about this is to ask a parent or teacher to help organize a recycling event in your neighborhood. For example, a bottle drive can be held to collect empty bottles from each house on the street. People will be glad to easily get rid of their trash and it will prompt them to recycle more often. To learn more about recycling, look through the fun resources below!