Be part of the change

Earth Day is a global environmental movement that is celebrated each year on the 22nd April. It is marked by more than a billion people as a day of action to change human behaviour and create global, national and local policy changes. There has been a huge realisation that the climate crisis is growing, and we all need to get involved to help save the planet!

This is why our Waste Wise Kids have come together to think about ways we can support Earth Day this year. Remember, these tips are not just for Earth Day but for every day!

Always reuse, repurpose and recycle items when you can

Old tyre made into a planter

When you have an item that you don’t want any more like a toy or packaging, don’t just throw it in the bin, stop and think, “Can this item be reused or repurposed?”

A toy you don’t want anymore could be perfect for your friend’s younger sibling, so ask around. If not, then there are lots of places that would love to have it, such as charities, a local hospital, or nurseries. Packaging like plastic milk bottles, empty drink bottles, and egg boxes can be repurposed into things like bird feeders and plant holders! So, get your thinking caps on – it’s so much fun to be creative.

For all other items, check for the recycle mark and make sure it goes in the right bin. This simple action can stop so much waste going to landfill and go to the correct recycling facility instead. If you are unsure, ask an adult at home or your teacher.

Go on a waste scavenger hunt around your neighbourhood

waste scavenger hunt

When you are walking around, do you ever see empty crisp packets and cans on the paths, or in the parks? This litter can really hurt the local wildlife. It can also end up in our waterways, and oceans where it is real threat to sea creatures.

Ask an adult to accompany you and check there is nothing dangerous in your chosen area, then get some friends together and start your mission! You’ll need gloves, a litter pick up stick (if you have one) and a number of bags – one for recyclables like cans, tins and plastic and one for general rubbish. Keep a look out for the local wildlife, you might see some little eyes watching you make their home environment much cleaner and safer.

When you have collected all the rubbish, take a photo for Waste Wise Kids, to show how much you found, and write down all the different types of waste you found. You can also list all the different wildlife that you have helped.

Donate or repurpose old clothes you don’t want anymore

children clothes

If you have a look through your wardrobe, I bet you would find clothes that are too small, and some that you don’t wear anymore! Why don’t you take some time to create a pile of old clothes and think about how they can be reused.

  • Do you have younger siblings, or friends with younger siblings that they would fit?
  • You could suggest to your friends to do a swap?
  • Donate your old clothes to a registered charity shop – just check your clothes don’t have any holes in and in fairly good condition. Everyone loves a pre-loved bargain!
  • For all clothes left over, you can drop off your unwanted items at recycling points and clothing and textile banks. These are often found at supermarkets and car parks. If you visit the Recycle Now page you can simply enter your postcode and it will tell you your nearest drop off point.
  • You can also transform and upcycle your clothes into something new. We have had some of our Waste Wise Kids turn old T-shirts into tote bags!

In a recent article from the BBC, it said that globally, an estimated 92 million tonnes of textiles waste is created each year and the equivalent to a rubbish truck full of clothes ends up on landfill sites every second!  This is really bad for the environment, so we need to be very mindful of ‘fast fashion’ and keep all clothing out of the bin.

Recycle batteries that don’t work anymore

recycle batteries

There are many products in the shops that require batteries – anything that has light or movable parts is generally powered by a battery. It is really important that when these batteries are used up, they are disposed of properly. Always tell an adult, when you think a battery has died and let them handle them as they can be dangerous for young children. Batteries are made up of lead, mercury, zinc and lithium which are materials that can be reused if they are recycled properly. However, if they are put in your normal waste bin, they may end up in landfill and these materials can seep into the ground, which is really bad for the environment.

Many of the supermarket and retail chains such as Tesco, Asda and B&Q have battery-recycling points in their stores.

However you decide to celebrate Earth Day, make sure you send us your photos and a description of what you have done by emailing: hello@wastewisekids.org.

Questions to reflect upon

  • What are we already doing in our life to help the environment?
  • What would be the impact on the environment if we didn’t act now?
  • How can we make simple improvements at home and at school to manage waste better?
  • Why should be conserve water and energy? Such as making sure we turn off lights if they are not needed?
  • List some ways of creating renewable energy.

Happy World Earth Day!