Recycling for Kids – How to Help the Environment

Part of a wider online recyling resource for children and teachers.

    • Sustainability
    • 22-06-15

There are all kinds of things you can do to help the environment. Recycling is one of the most useful and gives us all the chance to be kinder to our planet. If you’re interested in starting a recycling project all your own, take a look at the following ideas that we’ve come up with.

Old School Clothing

We all grow out of clothes at some stage, especially school clothing; so it’s a good bet that you’ll have something lying around which doesn’t fit anymore. Check out these recycling ideas.

How and Where to Recycle?

Alteration – ask one of your parents to make adjustments to your old uniform. If those trousers seem a bit short perhaps the hem can be lowered? Alterations could also be made to the waist if they’re a bit tight around your midriff.

Pass it on – if you have a younger brother or sister your old school uniform might be a perfect fit for them. This might also be the case if you’ve got a friend who’s a bit smaller than you.

Sell it on – find out about any local car boot sales in your area. You could also sell old uniforms online – loads of websites like E-bay or Gum Tree are ideal for selling clothes.

Donate – most London boroughs have clothing banks. Some even have doorstep collection services. Ask your parents for more info about these. You could also donate outgrown uniforms to your local charity shop.

What Happens to Old Clothing?

Throwing old clothes away is never a good idea. They’re often sent to landfill sites – unfortunately many types of clothes are made from materials which won’t decompose. So recycling is almost always the best option, especially when charity shops and clothes banks send them to people less fortunate.


You’ll go through a lot of workbooks and handouts during your time at school. If you’ve got any lying around which you don’t use any more, then why not make them part of a recycling project?

How and Where to Recycle?

Local recycling –most rubbish collection services allow for paper recycling. Don’t worry too much about removing staples as most paper mills can take care of this.

Bedding for pets – If you’ve got a small pet, you could use old paper to line their cage. You could also shred it so that your pet has comfortable bedding. In this case, you should definitely remove the staples!

Doodle pads – Sometimes a piece of scrap paper can be very useful for writing down messages, especially when on a landline telephone. So tear some pages out of your old school workbook or handout and put them in a tray next to your telephone.

What Happens to Paper?

In most cases, recycled paper is screened, cleaned of ink and things like staples removed. This is usually done at a paper mill which turns it into a pulp which is then transformed into paper all over again!

Food Waste from Packed Lunches

Sometimes your packed lunch contains certain types of food that you’d rather not eat! Or maybe you’re just full-up. Try to take advantage of any recycling services your school has.

School recycling – a lot of schools will have some kind of food recycling collection service in place. If you’re not too sure, it’s always a good idea to ask.

Composting – you could also ask about setting up a composting scheme or a worm composter for food waste. This could include your teachers’ food waste. If you have a school garden, this compost could be used as fertiliser to help plants to grow.

What Happens to Food Waste?

When food waste is sent to landfill sites, gasses are created which harm the environment. But the gases from recycled food can be used safely to power and heat our homes. And compost can be used as a natural fertiliser which can be really helpful to farmers.

Remember that there are some things that just can’t be recycled like wax paper, wrapping paper, cardboard lined with plastic and light bulbs. But don’t let this put you off. There’s loads of stuff which can be recycled and re-used. If you just focus on these things, you’ll really be helping the environment.