Advice Column, Baby, Child, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby, Toddler

Teaching children the importance of recycling and caring for their environment

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  • Category Advice Column, Baby, Child, Parenting, Pregnancy & Baby, Toddler

From a tender age, we’re filling our children’s absorbent minds with need–to-know information. As parents, our goal is for perfect manners to become second nature, and for important habits to be instilled as early as possible – like brushing teeth, packing away toys and putting on seatbelts. The future of recycling lies in the hands of our youth, and these are also the individuals who will carry the burden of higher carbon footprints if it is not reduced. As parents, we have the opportunity to help develop a generation of eco-warriors. We teach our children to say please and thank you, we tell them not to talk to strangers, not to litter, and so many other small yet essential life skills that we don’t even consciously think about. Why then should lessons in environmental protection and recycling be any different?

The Glass Recycling Company (TGRC), South Africa’s national organisation responsible for facilitating the recovery of waste glass for recycling, is working hard at encouraging citizens to increase glass recycling quantities. It’s up to us to empower our children by educating them as to the positive effect that recycling will have on our environment, and how they can make a difference.

Recycling is easy; you don’t have to start big to make an impact. Tips from TGRC to educate your family (and yourself) include:


  • Find your nearest glass bank. Visit The Glass Recycling Company website call 0861 2 GLASS (45277), or sms ‘GLASS’ to 45686 (SMS charged at R1.50)
  • Whenever you purchase something packaged, think about how you can reuse or recycle the packaging. Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled again and again without losing its purity or strength
  • Plan your trips to bottle banks to fit into your daily schedule – it will become part of your routine rather than a chore! Take your kids with you and show them how and where to put their bottles
  • Get your child’s school to register for The Glass Recycling Company school competition. Not only will this mean a conveniently placed glass bank at the school, but also a chance for schools to win fantastic cash prizes. For more details, visit
  • Explain to your children what is recyclable and what is not. Glass containers, such as those used for food and beverages can be recycled
  • Other types of glass, like window glass, ovenware, pyrex, crystal and light bulbs are manufactured through a different process and cannot be recycled through South Africa’s glass manufacturers
  • Reuse old containers – they are great for storing paint, crayons, buttons and arts and crafts tools such as paint brushes, rulers and much more
  • In South Africa, it’s not necessary to wash glass before placing it into “Glass Banks”, or to place different coloured glass into separate banks.  Recycling is just so easy


By making recycling a way of life as habitual as the other lessons we teach our kids, before we know it, we will have a generation of recyclers working together to build a sustainable environment.



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