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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:05 Too Much Trash
  • 0:46 Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • 2:30 Benefits of the Three R's
  • 2:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

If you'd like to learn how to help the environment, this is the lesson for you! In this lesson, you'll find out what it means to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and how this can help our planet.

Too Much Trash

How much trash do you think you make in one day? You might be surprised to find out that the average American throws away over four pounds of trash every day! Where does all this trash come from?

Think about what you put in the garbage today. You probably threw away leftover food, food packaging and wrappings, and maybe some paper or a broken toy. In many homes, people throw away clothes that are old, torn, or just don't fit any more. If there are babies in the home, there are usually many disposable diapers that are thrown away.

All of these things put together end up in our garbage cans and then in landfills, which are huge dumping areas where garbage is buried. If this keeps up, the earth will soon be covered in trash! So how can we make less garbage?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

If we want to help the environment, three words to keep in mind are the three R's: reduce, reuse, and recycle. By doing these three things, we can all work together to cut down on the garbage we throw away.

One of the easiest things we can do is to reduce, or lower the amount of things we throw away. Almost one-third of all the waste we make in the U.S. is from packaging. Can you think of any ways to use less packaging? For example, instead of buying small packages of snacks for your lunch, buy one large bag and divide it into smaller portions that you can carry in a reusable plastic container.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying individual plastic bottles of water.
  • Write or print on both sides of paper.
  • Put your sandwich in a reusable plastic container instead of using a plastic bag that gets thrown away.

Another easy way to cut down on the amount of garbage that you make is to find ways to use things more than once, or to reuse. For example, we often have clothing that is still good, but that we don't want to wear because it doesn't fit. Donating your used clothing so that it can be worn by other people is one way to reuse.

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