Teaching your kids to go green won’t just make them environmentally conscious, it will also help them earn a few extra bucks for their next trip to the toy store."It's crucial to teach kids about recycling early on. Kids who grow up seeing their parents treat recyclables as garbage will feel like that's the norm," says Angie Wynne founder of Freepeats.org. Here are some ways to keep kids environmentally engaged, while helping them earn some quick cash.
Virtually any type of bottle can be brought in for recycling. And while it's only a nickel a piece, kids are sure to jump at the extra opportunity. It's also a great way to teach about the impact of plastic or glass consumption. "Knowing exactly how much they'll be getting for the box of bottles they bring in for recycling is a big incentive," says Wynne who also writes BabyCheapskate.com. Find national recycling center locations at recyclingcenters.org.
Almost anything in the home can be salvaged and doesn't need to go straight to the trash, says Julia Lupton, co-author of DIY Kids. Lupton recommends that kids "make tiny stuffed animals out of singleton socks or the sleeves of old shirts." Later, kids can sell the creations at school bake or craft sales. "Teaching kids to build recycling into their craft, gift and lunch worlds makes them realize that their choices matter," explains Lupton.
Host a Yard Sale
To get rid of extra junk without adding to landfills, kids can sell castoffs like toys, books and games during a yard sale, says Wynne. Besides being a great way to clear out the house and make some cash, "passing on items for secondhand use serves the same purpose—reducing waste," she explains.
Start a Recycling Program
Older kids who live farther away from municipal recycling centers can earn extra cash by offering to help their neighbors recycle anything from newspapers to bottles and cans, says Wynne, who recommends charging neighbors a weekly fee. "Kids learn about entrepreneurship, make money, and help their neighbors at the same time," she says.
Reduce Tech Trash
Kids can collect old printer cartridges and cell phones from family or friends and mail them in to FundingFactory.com. Kids earn cash or redeemable rewards points while keeping them out of landfills, says Stefani Newman, founder of TeensyGreen.com. "It's a great way for children to see how their parent's stuff can be recycled, and how to keep things other than paper and plastic out of the trash."
Trim Down Lunch Waste
To help people recycle things like food packaging, TerraCycle.net actually makes new products or packaging out of candy wrappers or other used items. If kids collect some of the specific product packaging requested on TerraCycle's site, they can send in items in return for cash. "Sending in recyclable items that they might normally throw away is a big wake up call to how much trash they create," says Newman.