Growing up with green habits – sustainability practices that are great for children to learn young

Today’s contributing article is by Recycle for London which is consumer campaign that delivers both London-wide communications and borough level support to help Londoners recycle more, no matter where they are in the capital. It is run by Resource London, a partnership between the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) and WRAP. The campaign underpins the capital’s push towards 65% recycling by 2030.

  • Learn to love cycling! Learning to ride a bike is one of childhood’s most established rites of passage but sadly many of us leave it at that. Engender a love of cycling in your children and you might help them avoid unnecessary car journeys in future.
  • Did you know that by leaving a tap running unnecessarily, you could be wasting up to six litres of water per minute? Get your children practising turning off taps whilst brushing their teeth to help them understand not to waste.
  • An apple a day, eat your greens, 5-a-day…children are always being encouraged to eat all their fruit and veg, but making a vegetarian diet more central in a child’s life earlier can encourage a more plant-based diet that has a less harmful impact on the environment.
  • Not everything belongs in the rubbish bin and it’s important you’ve got the right set up to mean you recycle as much as possible. Getting some different and brightly coloured bins can help children (and adults) distinguish between the bins for recycling and rubbish, and will help get their attention.
  • Similarly, getting children to identify and compost everything they can or having them make sure food scraps go in the food waste bin is a great habit to get them into. If you’re provided with a food waste bin by your local authority, the scraps can be used to generate electricity and if you’re not, compost is incredibly good for your garden!
  • It’s important to emphasise that this should only include what cannot be eaten though. Most of the UK’s food waste happens in the home, so by making sure children understand that the extra food you’ve made will still be good to eat tomorrow, they can help reduce unnecessary food waste.
  • It’s not empty, it’s full of possibilities! Empty bottles, jars, pots, tubs and boxes can always be made use of and it’s a great way to get the imagination going – think gardening, plants, spaceships, dolls houses…
  • When it’s off, it’s off. Electrical appliances such as TVs waste electricity if they’re left on standby so making a rule of a ban on standby can help children eradicate unnecessary wastage of energy.
  • Gamification! Making any of these suggestions into a game, or introducing an element of competition will always help boost their enthusiasm.

    Visit Recyle London website for more information.