Recycling is one of the fundamental actions that we most easily have within our reach to help protect the planet. In addition, it is important that children learn the importance of recycling from a young age, as it will be one of the most effective ways for them to become aware of the importance of carrying out certain habits that help protect the environment and reduce the impact that humans have. has in nature.
The importance of raw materials
For children to understand the importance of recycling, it is essential that they understand that all the products they use in their daily lives come from raw materials that have had to be previously transformed to become what they are at the time. that you make use of the products. Thus, it is important that they understand where materials such as paper, glass, metal or plastic come from.
When a child knows the manufacturing process of a material, for example, since the cellulose of a tree becomes paper, he will have the necessary knowledge to understand why that product in question is important. This serves to prevent the little ones from thinking that things are simply “there because they are.” Knowing the process by which the raw material becomes clothing, furniture, notebook, or even some of their toys is the first step so that they can come to understand the importance of recycling.
Once the children have understood the process by which the products reach their hands, you will be in a position to explain what recycling is and what benefits it has . Explain how recycling works to children should be done from examples that they can easily understand. It is important to explain to them that, once the products are no longer useful, the material with which they are made can be used again to make “new things” and that, in this way, it is not necessary to take them from nature , so that the impact and destruction that the human being exerts on these resources is reduced.
In this sense, a good example that can be very illustrative is that of plastelin. Plastelin is a toy that consists of a semi-solid mass that, precisely due to this semi-solid nature, can be molded infinitely many times, which allows it to be given many different shapes. Explaining to a child what recycling is through clay is a very simple and graphic way for them to understand it, since they are the ones who, having played with this dough, know that it can be used over and over again to create different and new objects without wearing out.
Once the children have understood what recycling is and why it is important, we will go on to explain the operation of the separation and cataloging systems. That is, what are each of the containers and why should the garbage be separated. This task will be quite simple once they have understood the importance of recycling, since separating the garbage for later recycling is a step that makes it easier to manage it in an obvious way, so that the children will understand it the first time. In fact, at this point the most complicated thing we have to deal with is for the little ones to remember what materials go to each of the containers. However, after a week or two of practice at home, it will be a problem of the past.
On the other hand, a quick and easy way to make children understand what recycling is and become aware of the importance of recycling is for them to see it and carry it out with their own hands. A very simple way to do it is to recycle paper in our own home . This experiment can be thought of as a game but, in addition to having fun, children will see and touch recycling in the first person, which, many times, will be much more effective than words.
To recycle paper at home it will be necessary to have:
- Old paper.
- White glue.
- Very fine metal mesh OR fiberglass.
The first thing to do is cut the old paper into small pieces and mix them with water. Next, you will proceed to undo the paper by hand until you obtain a cellulose pulp that is as homogeneous as possible. Then, we will add a little white glue to the paste so that it has a more consistent texture when drying and, finally, we will proceed to spread it on the metal or fiberglass mesh to dry in the sun. Once the paper pulp has dried, we will remove it carefully so that it does not break, and we will cut the edges with a scissors. In this way, we will obtain a rudimentary paper from old papers, which will allow children to experience the usefulness and importance of recycling in the first person .