10 Creative ways for families to reduce reuse and recycle in the home

Australian children across the nation are leading the War on Waste

Reduce, reuse and recycle are commonplace vocabulary in classrooms thanks to a range of programs which teach children not only how to recycle, but also why it’s important.

Cleanaway began offering recycling education to school children in the 1990's and now teaches more than 40,000 students across the country each year.[1]  The classes are specifically designed to encourage children to teach their parents about waste management to change habits and improve recycling rates. Some waste collectors argue that changing adult habits are hard and therefore targeting the younger members of the household could be the key to change.[2]

Many Australian schools also implement Container Deposit Scheme collection points. This teaches students how to recycle, the importance of recycling, and, with container refund schemes, it can raise funds for school projects.  In Australia, not all states and territories implement a container deposit scheme, so check here to see your region supports a container refund scheme.

Other programs entering Australian Schools include Plastic Free July which encourages students to reduce plastic consumption at school. The program both reduces plastic and educates students about the importance of plastic reduction: http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/schools.html

The strategy to educate children about recycling and waste management is also being implemented in other countries. In the UK, teachers are making changes such as banning glitter due to its microplastic material.[3] In the US, student-led movements to ban plastic are gaining traction[4]. And in Singapore, big business has teamed up with schools to launch a recycling bin design competition.[5]

Despite the drive forward and engagement of our youth, Australia’s recycling efforts are still lacking behind our OECD counterparts.

Global Recycling Rates.jpg

Container Deposit Systems is always looking for new creative ways to support Australian families to improve to reduce, reuse and recycle. We have listed 10 ideas below for the whole family to try out:

1. PET Bottles into Plant Boxes: a creative way to recycle old milk cartons and soft drink bottles is to make your own garden with the kids.  It’s cheap, easy and you can even turn them into a wonderful herb garden to eat sustainably.  Recycled Milk Cartons.jpg

2. Make a compost: each year Australian households throw away $7.8 billion worth of food![6] (that’s not including commercial food at restaurants and supermarkets!) a great way to reduce your carbon footprint is to create a compost bin for your scraps. Add a few worms in there and you will have compost in no time. (It will be great for your milk bottle herb garden as well)

3. Set up a household Container Deposit System: if your state has a container deposit scheme, you can teach kids which bottles they can recycle to receive cash back. This teaches children about the importance of recycling and kids can earn extra pocket money too!

4. Upcycled Jewellery: upcycling is an excellent way to turn old electronics into funky jewellery. People are even making a business of upcycling old circuit boards and selling on sites such as Esty.[7]

Recycled computer chips.jpg

5. Have a garage sale: it’s the original ‘reuse’ strategy. Sell one family’s ‘trash’ to another who may see it as treasure. In Australia, there are thousands of garage sales each weekend. There is even an annual event called the Garage Sale Trail (https://www.garagesaletrail.com.au/) which you can get on board with. 

6. Implement a weekly ‘left over’ night: kids (and adults!) can be fussy eaters and leftovers can often go to waste. Introducing a fun 'left over' night can encourage the whole family to enjoy any remaining food from the week. This will encourage kids to not throw out food and enjoy leftovers more.  (If you need to get a little creative, TASTE has some great ideas: https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/collections/leftovers)

7. KEEP YOUR GLASS JARS!: there are so many creative uses for recycled glass jars (such as candle holders, vases, storage containers or pots) that someone has created a 30 ways to use glass jars blog: https://www.hometalk.com/37993479/s-30-great-mason-jar-ideas-you-have-to-try

8. Wine bottle light: wine bottle lights can make an amazing light feature in your house or garden. Make sure you connect only LED lights to ensure it is environmentally friendly.

 Recycled wine bottles.jpg

9. Create a veggie garden: vegetable gardens showcase sustainable living firsthand to kids and families.  Kids love to tend to the vegetables and freshly picked food always tastes better. Vegetable gardens don’t have to take up a lot of room.  There are options now for wall gardens and you can even grow your produce in pots.[8]  Veggie gardens have multiple purposes; they reduce your carbon footprint, reduce supermarket expenses and encourage kids and adults to spend time outdoors instead of inside in front of screens.

10. Art & Craft Animals: kids of all ages love arts and crafts. Keeping bottles, lids and a range of old fabric items can make the perfect combination for some great creative toys. (Just remember to recycle the plastic bottles when they toys are ready to be thrown out.)

 recycled plastic container animals.jpg

Do you have other creative ways that your family reduces, reuses or recycles?  If you do, let us know!


About Container Deposit Systems

Container Deposit Systems was formed with a vision to oversee the implementation of improved operational practices in recycling facilities.  The company offers a range of services to recycling depot facilities to drive productivity improvements and transition traditional recycling facilities into modern technically advanced operators.

The company achieve this through patented technologies which deliver manufacturing automation to auto-sort materials via a highly sensitive multi-sensor integration.  Systems integrations enable facilities to further gain efficiencies through workflows, materials handling, logistic processes, facility layout and design, customer interaction and data acquisition and management. 

Container Deposit Systems technologies are designed and manufactured in Australia with local partners Sage Automation and Macweld Engineering.

For more information, please contact us directly.  



[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-26/recycling-taught-to-primary-school-children/10025686
[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-26/recycling-taught-to-primary-school-children/10025686
[3] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/17/nurseries-ban-glitter-in-pre-christmas-drive-for-cleaner-seas
[4] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-kaas-boyle/youth-movement-to-reduce-_b_777388.html
[5] http://www.eco-business.com/press-releases/tapping-into-student-creativity-to-increase-recycling-rates/
[6] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-10-08/food-waste-value-australia/4993930
[7] https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/470403275/green-recycled-circuit-board-earrings?gpla=1&gao=1&&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shopping_au_en_au_-jewelry-free&utm_custom1=c6854d9e-4c83-407d-ac06-d9fdbc77d826&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5s2hqJbs3AIVUq6WCh2qxQdbEAQYASABEgInpfD_BwE
[8] https://mashable.com/2015/06/07/plants-you-can-grow-in-apartments/#d3q0Js48HGqK