You may have already begun your carbon footprint-reducing journey, but now you may be wondering how you can make a bigger difference. The easiest answer to that question is to get others involved. Whether that means your family and friends, or your neighbors and greater community, every person you can encourage to make a difference will do just that!
The best and easiest place to start is in your own home (or your friends). Your family and friends are great people to practice your persuasion techniques on. Don’t be pushy, but make your objectives clear. You can say things like, “it’s really as easy as…” or “I’m already doing it! We can do it together”.
If you’re dealing with your younger siblings (and even older ones, and parents) you’ll want to make sure that the things you are asking them to do are realistic tasks. Think of ways that you can make the process as smooth and easy as possible. That way, there’s no excuse to fail!
If possible, place recycling containers near trash cans. If they can’t go near a trash can just make sure they are in a high-traffic area that is not too out-of-the-way. No matter where they are, make sure they are clearly labeled with exactly what products should go in each bin. If some of the members of your house can’t read yet (or even if all of them can), pictures can be very helpful.
Make it a Game
Recycling can seem boring to some peoples, especially kids. Turning the process into a game or a competition can help get everyone involved. Setting goals to reduce the amount of trash you’re producing by the number of trash bags each trash pick-up cycle will help your family to see a tangible goal.
You can also create a chart. Each time a family member adds an item to the recycling they can add a sticker or symbol next to their name. The family member with the most stickers or symbols at the end of the week or month gets a prize! Or if you want to make it a team effort, set a reward for once everyone collectively reaches a certain number of items recycled.
Think Outside of the Box
Use the other R’s and teach your family how to use them! Talk about what products in your home can be replaced with sustainable alternatives and how to reuse items that are typically thrown away. Encourage everyone to donate items that are still in good condition rather than throwing them away.
For the younger family members, teach them to use both sides of the paper when drawing or writing. Encourage them to be conscientious of their waste by keeping a tally of every item that they put in the trash. At the end of the week, take spaghetti noodles or toothpicks and count out the same number with them. This will help them see how much they are really throwing out.