Getting kids to recycle: the concept of "Reduce"

Almost everyone has heard of the recycling mantra - "reduce, reuse, recycle!" However, not everyone can list three or four things that one can do in order to achieve each one of those things. The National Institutes of Health provides a handy outline - geared towards kids - for how to think about the three parts of the recycling mantra, beginning with ways to "reduce" one's consumption of waste, leading to less trash and better waste management.

The NIH recommends that consumers - including kids! - buy less and buy things in a smart, eco-conscious manner, thus practicing something which the organization calls "precycle."

Precycling works by getting consumers involved in selecting the most recycling-friendly and trash-reducing products on the market, hence why this step falls under the category of "Reduce."

You can help the environment simply by buying less of the things that you do not necessarily need and using up all of the things that you have already bought. This means not throwing out a bottle of orange juice that isn't completely finished. It means using the laundry detergent wisely and not having to buy multiple plastic containers of detergent because one has dumped too much into each load or one has thrown out a container without using it fully.

This leads to the second part of the concept of "Reducing," which is to buy in bulk. Kids can ask their parents to buy the biggest, bulkiest container of detergent or package of paper towels or bottle of juice. Why? Because it takes less plastic and other materials to wrap a bulk product than to individually wrap little products. Once the family has brought home the gigantic bottle of juice, one can section it out in individual containers found at home in order to be able to enjoy convenient small quantities.