How to Talk to Your Kids about Plastic Pollution

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away it must go somewhere.”

Annie Leonard

Plastic is one of the worst pollutants in the world, so to help your child be prepared for it, you might want to consider plastic pollution awareness activities. 

This is more crucial than most people think, mostly because of how plastic pollution is devastating entire ecosystems.

The latest statistics show a troubling trend, making the actions for reducing the irresponsible disposable of the non-biodegradable waste incredibly important. 

With children being the ones who will be the custodians of the world in the future, teaching them how to reduce plastic in school, at home, and anywhere else could not be more critical.

What is Plastic Pollution

When people think of plastic pollution, they normally imagine water bottles, disposable bags, and bottle caps. However, it can also extend to a bunch of other things like nets, fishing lines, and even plumbing materials.

However, no matter how challenging the prospect might be, there is always hope in the small efforts of individuals. This goes double for children.

Among the most common sources of today’s plastic problems are disposable containers and dispensers. Plastic straws, cups, bottles, food storage containers, and cutlery are major contributors to plastic pollution.

By addressing the factors that are within the reach of individuals in society, it is more than possible to reduce the level of plastic pollution that is in the environment. 

Explaining Plastic Pollution to Kids

Now, explaining pollution to children as a general concept is not hard, at all. However, the specifics and how it can affect their own lives on a micro level is a different matter.

It can be difficult to explain to kids exactly what they can do to make a difference, but it is still important to try.

Making children understand that even with their small contributions, the world can be spared of further harm will help build the right habits.

The more they understand the consequences of their own actions, the more responsibility they take. 

If you really want your child to have a full grasp of what plastic pollution entails, you need to make sure that you are actually giving them the right details.

More than that, you need to tap into their own interests and personalities, which will then require the right approach. 

Why Kids Need to Learn About Plastic Pollution

Now, there are quite a few reasons why children should be taught about plastic pollution, with the biggest being the role that plastic plays in their lives.

Everything from their sippy cups to their diapers is made of synthetic materials that will take decades or even centuries to degrade. The sooner they learn how to responsibly dispose of such materials, the better.

From there, a decent education in these matters will then allow your child to:

  1. Develop a Sense of Responsibility – When you allow your child to take on more responsibilities with regard to proper waste disposal regarding plastic, he will naturally develop that sense as he grows up.If all goes well, you will not even need to remind him to sort out the trash as he needs to. He will just do that on his own.
  2. Have More Self-Awareness – The more your child knows about the impact of his actions on the world, the more he starts thinking about his choices and its consequences. This self-awareness is incredibly important in giving your child the tools to make better choices as he grows up.
  3. Become More Empathetic – To care about the environment is to care about what other people are going through and this requires empathy. When your child is taught to care more about plastic pollution, he will inevitably learn how to care about others, as well. 
  4. Become More Environmentally active – Finally, your child will become more active in trying to do his part in order to protect the environment. Even the smallest of acts can help and he can then influence others to do the same.

Fun Activities for Disposing Plastic Properly 

With the reasons and benefits of talking to your child about plastic pollution already having been covered, it’s time to look into the activities that will make this easier.

Simply sitting your child down and explaining everything can only accomplish so much.

As such, you might want to think about:

Signing Him up to Local Recycling Groups

 If there is an environmental group in your area that is specifically for kids, it would do him good to sign your child up.

Recycling and environmental activities are often more fun when done with people who are close to each other.

This will not only help him develop the right attitude, but he can also start influencing others. 

Recycling Contest

Try turning recycling and responsible waste disposal into a contest.

Giving your child a quota that he can fill and pitting him against others or yourself where he can then earn rewards would certainly give him plenty of motivation.

Having a talk with your child about something as serious as plastic pollution is never easy. However, his learning of effective waste management is crucial for his future. 

RELATED: 5 Ways to Teach Waste Management to Kids

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