Recycling: Home Recycling Basics You can Teach Your Kids Parent's Corner

Recycling: Home Recycling Basics You can Teach Your Kids

Integrated Learning Strategies is excited to feature teaching children about recycling in this guest post. While many of the recommendations below are great for select children and parents, some accommodations or exceptions may be made for children with learning challenges and learning disabilities.

Going green is all the rage, but it’s hard to know where to start if you’re new to the movement. Recycling in your home is an easy way that you can be just a bit more green today. Here are a few basic home recycling dos and don’ts.

Recycling: Home Recycling Basics You can Teach Your Kids | ilslearningcorner.com

What Can I Recycle?

What you can and can’t recycle will depend a lot on what city you live in. If you have any questions, contact your city to see what they will accept. However, the following are generally accepted in most places:

  • Paper – There are 5 grades of paper that you can recycle. The higher the grade, the more “valuable” the paper. Newspaper are the lowest grades as they have already been recycled many times, while printer paper is the highest. (A note about printer paper, you can recycle shredded paper, but since the paper has been shredded, it lowers the grade.)
  • Glass – Glass bottles and jars are recyclable in most places. However, there are some cities that don’t accept glass at their facilities, so always double check before throwing it into the bin.
  • Metal – You can recycle metal food cans in your recycling bin, but many other metals you will have to take to a special facility to recycle. Most of the time, you can even make a few extra bucks when you take those metals to a recycling facility, especially if you have non-ferrous metals such as copper, brass, and aluminum.
  • Aluminum Foil – Most people do not realize they can recycle aluminum foil, but you can. In fact, during World War II, people would help the war effort by collecting aluminum foil and even pulling the foil off of gum wrappers. If your aluminum foil has a little bit of food on it, carefully remove it before you recycle it, as the food makes it unusable.
  • Plastics – Every piece of plastic is given a different number, depending on what it is made of. Most recycling centers accept #1-7, but some accept even higher. However, some cities only accept certain shapes and sizes of the higher numbers, so make sure to find out if there are any restrictions before you toss them into your recycling.

Recycling: Home Recycling Basics You can Teach Your Kids | ilslearningcorner.com

What Can’t I Recycle?

Unfortunately you can’t recycle everything. Here is a list of things that must be thrown in the trash. Again, ask you city if you have any questions.

  • Paper that had been soiled by food or water -This includes cardboard, so no, you can’t recycle your wet cardboard or pizza box (there is too much oil and sauce).
  • Food – Sorry, you can’t recycle that cucumber, but you can put produce into a compost bin to help your garden grow.
  • Wrapping paper around Christmas time – While you can recycle wrapping paper any other time of the year, there is so much of it recycled during Christmas time that it can gum up the machines. It’s best to wait a couple of weeks before putting it into your recycling.
  • Tires, at least in normal recycling bins – If you’d like to recycle your tires it is better to take them to a local tire store or recycling center. Note that you cannot put tires in the trash and you cannot take them to the landfill.
  • Decorative glass such as vases and cups – While you can recycle most glass, thin glass used in home decor is hard and often impossible to recycle. This also includes light bulbs, mirrors, and crystal.
  • Plastic bags – Plastic baggies and plastic grocery bags cannot be recycled at many facilities, and it is often dangerous to do so as they can blow away, get caught in the machines, and cause other problems.
  • Ceramics – Unfortunately, coffee mugs and old school projects cannot be placed in your recycling bin. Instead, use them around the home, in your garden, or take them to the local Goodwill.

Recycling: Home Recycling Basics You can Teach Your Kids | ilslearningcorner.com

Is it Better to Recycle or Repurpose?

Of course, if you can repurpose your household items, you should. While recycling is more green than throwing things in the trash, it still requires energy to break down the materials and reuse them. If you can reuse things as part of your craft projects, or as scraps.  If not, send them to your nearby recycling facility to become something new.


Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs

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