By Kat Springer aka The Organised Housewife

When it comes to getting your children involved in recycling, there are a few things you can do within the home to help them start to understand recycling, and more importantly – how to recycle correctly.

Recent research released from Nestlé revealed that 88 percent of Aussies are putting common household items in the wrong bin* so there is still confusion around how to dispose of our household waste. This really shows the importance of making sure we’re always refreshing our recycling knowledge and that we start to educate the kids about recycling from an early age.

Here are my top tips on getting the kids involved in recycling (hopefully they will help to turn it into a habit for them):

Tip 1: Get Organised

Start with setting up recycling bins in different rooms across the house including the kitchen, office playroom, and bathroom. Use this as an opportunity to talk the kids through what items go into what bin, why it’s important to place certain items in the recycling bin, and how they can check if something can be recycled.

I have two clear tubs in my kitchen (one for recycling, and one for my soft plastics that need to go to REDCycle). Then for ease, I have split bins set up in the bathroom which until I know everyone has a good understanding, I sort through once they’re full to check everything is in the right bin. It’s great to get the kids involved in the sorting process as it helps to teach them about recycling too.

Top tip: set up a creative playdate for the kids where you all create posters for each of the bins, with visual clues on what they should look out for and what items belong in what bin.

Tip 2: Teach the kids how to read the Australasian Recycling Label

Use one of their favourite products from the supermarket such as a tin of Milo to point out the Australasian Recycling Label on the back of the pack.

The Australasian Recycling Label (or ARL in short) offers easy to understand recycling information to help you know which bin to recycle it in, and any other special instructions such as scrunching, rinsing or flattening that you need to follow first.

When it comes to soft plastics such as an Allen’s lolly packet, be sure to look out for the ‘Store drop off’ or ‘Return to store’ instructions on the ARL so you know the packet can be recycled but only if you drop it off at your local REDcycle collection point. You can usually find REDcycle bins at your local supermarket, and you can find out more information on where your local collection point is via the REDcycle website here.

Head to arl.org.au for more information on the Australasian Recycling Label.

Tip 3: Test your recycling knowledge

When it comes to teaching the kids about recycling, why not turn it into a fun recycling game or get the whole family to play the Nestlé Good Sort Game to help you all get to know your bins and learn more about the ARL. That way the kids can learn about what can be recycled, how it needs to be recycled and how to tell how it needs to be recycled in a fun, and informative way!

Top tips for recycling right:

  1. Check it, before you chuck it: always look for the ARL to know which bin to recycle in.
  2. Create organised, recycling bins: throughout the house to make organising an easy habit.
  3. Keep items loose: don’t place recyclables in a bag, or inside one another – put them in loose in your recycling bin.
  4. Drop off soft plastics: collect soft plastics and drop them instore at a REDcycle collection point during your weekly grocery shop.
  5. If in doubt, chuck it out: while it may seem counterintuitive if you’re unsure if something is recyclable, put it in the rubbish bin.

*Research was conducted by Antenna on behalf of Nestlé from 13th to 17th October. 1,021 Australians nationally representative on age, gender, and location were surveyed.