What Kids Can Do

what kids can doKids can make a difference for the environment. It doesn’t matter how big you are or how old you are. As another Dr. Seuss character Horton the Elephant reminded us: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” And every person counts.  Whether you’re 5 or 15, you can make a difference by recycling more plastics and other stuff.

Here are some things that you and your friends can do to change the ways things are.


handsTell your teachers about educational resources on plastics and recycling
There are many sources of information on plastics and plastics recycling on the Internet that your teachers would find useful. Hands on PlasticsTM offers fun science education activities that your teachers can use in your classroom. Here is information for your teachers if you’re in elementary school and if you’re in middle school.



schoolsEarn money for schools or charities by recycling

Founded by a 20 year old college student, a company called TerraCycle collects lots of used plastic (and other) packaging and products such as candy wrappers, drink pouches, cereal bags – even lap tops and digital cameras. TerraCycle turns this waste into more than 1,500 products that are available at stores such as Walmart and Whole Foods.

What’s even better? TerraCycle let’s you earn money to help schools or charities. Check out how this works (you will need a person 13 or older to help sign up).


Getting a new cell phone? Recycle your old one.

More than 100 million cell phones are no longer used annually. If we recycled all of them, we would save enough energy to power 18,500 U.S. homes for a year.

Check out the ways you (and your friends and parents) can recycle cell phones.




competitionStart a plastic bag recycling competition at your school

The Plastic Bag Challenge is a competition to see which school can collect the most recycled plastic bags to recycle with Trex, a company that makes lumber out of used plastic (like plastic bags) and wood. Trex used more than 3 billion plastic bags in 2010 to make its products!

Click here to learn more and contact Trex.


recyclebagsRecycle plastic bags and more

Did you know there are thousands of places across America where you and your family and friends can recycle plastic grocery bags? It’s true. Many large grocery stores and some stores such as Target, Walmart, Lowe’s and Home Depot have collection bins for plastic bags. It’s easy to find these stores – click here and choose your state.

And you can recycle more than plastic grocery bags. Programs that collect grocery bags also recycle other plastic bags and wraps – here’s a list to share with your family and friends.

Newspaper Bags – Dry Cleaning Bags – Bread Bags – Produce Bags – Toilet Paper Wraps – Napkin Wraps – Paper Towel Wraps – Furniture Wrap – Electronics Wrap – Plastic Retail Bags – Grocery Bags – Food Storage Bags – Cereal Box Liners – Tyvek – Diaper Wrap – Plastic Shipping Envelopes – Case Wrap – Ice Bags – Bags Labeled #2 or #4

These plastic bags and wraps can be recycled into plastic lumber that is used to make park benches, backyard decks and fences – even playground equipment. They also can be recycled into new plastic bags – and then be recycled again.

recycle_dayCreate or join an event for America Recycles Day

Every November 15 is America Recycles Day – one day to get neighbors, friends and your community excited about what can be accomplished when we all recycle. One day to encourage more recycling 365 days a year.

You can create an America Recycles Day event, join an event or take a pledge to recycle more. And you can check out videos that kids and others made about the importance of recycling – and even make your own video for America Recycles Day 2012.

plastics11Look for products made with recycled plastics (and other recycled stuff)

More and more products are made with recycled plastics: some backpacks, school supplies, t-shirts, and more.

When people buy these products, we encourage more recycling by “closing the recycling loop.” That means we bought a product that started out as something else (a bottle a bag, a container) and was recycled into something new (a t-shirt, playground equipment, a picnic table).

When you’re shopping for anything – in a store or online – check the label or the web site to see if the product contains recycled plastics. And encourage your parents to do the same thing.

Here’s a story on school supplies made with recycled plastics. And here’s a handy gift guide for moms, dads and kids that lists some products made with recycled products, just to give you some ideas.

parents1Get your parents involved in plastics (and other) recycling

If you’re recycling, your whole family should be recycling. The more people you get involved, the more good you (and they) can do for the environment.

Ask your parents or guardian to check out these easy tips to get the family involved in recycling.


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