Even in a down economy, most Americans experience a better quality of life than in almost any other country in the world. We have access to clean water, abundant food, quality housing, and an almost unlimited array of technology and entertainment options. Most children grow up not really knowing how well they have it, and it’s up to parents to help instill a real appreciation of that abundance. If you care about the environment and want your children to understand that all of these games, computers and electronics come at a price, teaching them some perspective is even more important. It goes much further than recycling, but that’s a great way to start. Here are a few ways you can teach kids to recycle old games, electronics and computer equipment.
Kids get so many presents they often don’t even appreciate half of what they have. Grandparents and friends spoil our kids with gifts at every possible occasion, and you’ll have to monitor your children closely to make sure they keep a grounded perspective. One great option, especially after over-abundant birthday parties or holidays, is to have your child choose his favorite couple toys, and then donate the rest to charity. Your child may not be willing to do that at first, so you’ll have to show them that there are thousands of kids all over the world that don’t even have a single toy to play with. Use the internet to show them how important it is to share our bounty, and chances are they’ll get on board with the idea. Take them to donation centers so they can see how it goes, and even help them organize a holiday toy drive, starting with their own overflow but working with their friends to pull together a ton of games and toys they can donate to the less fortunate.
When it comes to electronics, most kids have tons. They get each video game system as it comes out, and then move on to newer games as they are released. If your child tires of one video game and wants another, tell them they need to sell back the used games until they’ve gained enough store credit to get a new one. You can also have them donate their electronics at consignment shops. If you really want to get creative, have your child help organize a garage sale. Whatever money is generated from the sale of his old electronics, he can keep and use to buy something new. It will show him that he can’t just keep getting new things without shedding the old, which will certainly help your house from cluttering up.
Older computers are a bit more difficult to recycle. When you’re ready to upgrade, have your child help you research how to properly recycle old computers. If it’s still usable, you can donate it, again reinforcing the idea that you have to look out for people who don’t have as much. But if the computer is really ready to be put out to pasture, sit with your child and call the manufacturer. They can tell you how to recycle all those old monitors, fiber optic patch cables, hard drives and computer shelves, so that the materials can be reused to create new computers.