Living in south-east Queensland, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful national parks and long stretches of coast. And while it’s amazing to have so much natural beauty around us, it’s important that we think sustainably and get outdoors and keep our surroundings clean. Inspiring our children about the importance of conservation and recycling is important for our next generation, but we all know educating in an engaging way can be tough.
Point out rubbish left on the ground
While it may seem simple, bringing your child’s attention to their surroundings when out and about is a great first step. When you’re at the park or the beach subtly alert your little one to any rubbish you come across and explain how it can affect wildlife. Even bring tools along to help clean it up!
Get crafty with your recycling bins
Spend an afternoon doing arts and crafts with your children, decorating their own recycling bins with examples of the materials that can go in each. While Brisbane has some of the best recycling infrastructure in the country, it can often be difficult to remember what items can go inside the yellow bin. Place things such as paper, cardboard, firm plastics, metal and glass on the outside of the container so your tiny tots know exactly what they can recycle.
Make composters out of your little rugrats
Food wastage can be a real problem, with the government estimating food waste to cost the Australian economy around $20 billion each year[i]. Once your little one has recycling down pat, why not set up a composting system in your backyard. Easily purchased from Bunnings, small scale compost systems allow for the disposing of food scraps to be made into compost. This is a great way to engage your kids in a conversation about the follow-on effect of their food waste. You can begin to build an awareness from a young age of where the sandwich crusts they never eat end up and teach them environmentally friendly ways to reduce their food waste.
Have you heard of the scrunch test?
Did you know that our yellow recycling bins can’t take soft plastics? Things like bread bags, bubble wrap, food wrappers and plastic bags are all a no-go. A safe way to find out if a plastic item can be recycled is to perform the scrunch test. If you can scrunch the plastic material up into a ball easily, it can’t go in the yellow bin. Have a try, you’ll be surprised by the sense of satisfaction you receive – very Marie Kondo if you ask us. Teach the kids and get folding and scrunch testing!
Make a worm farm
They may not be the pets your kids have been begging you for, but having your very own worm farm is a great way to ensure you’re reducing your impact and teaching your children about sustainability at the same time. The little worm workers you’re your organic waste (all of the food scraps and other organic material that would otherwise waste away in landfill) into a rich plant fertilizer, which you can use in your own garden or gift to the green thumbs in your life. You can pick up everything you need for your worm farm at Bunnings!
Engage in fun activities
Keep an eye out for local events that encourage education about the environment, like library book readings and excursions around your area. Your local shopping centre may even host an environmentally-minded event, like Indooroopilly Shopping Centre did for Clean Up Australia Day earlier this year. GreenFest Family Eco-Day engaged kids in fun and interactive activities that inspired them to take care of their community’s environment, creating and decorating their own environmentally friendly shopping bags and planting seedlings in take-home recycled and bio-degradable pots.