Thursday, November 29, 2007

Kids "reinvent The Environment"

Kids "reinvent The Environment" - by Wendy Mitchell

As the old saying goes, "one man's trash is another man's treasure," and now kids nationwide are taking something old and making it new and functional for a good cause-to protect the environment.While recycling has grown in general during the past 20 years, recycling of specific materials has grown even more drastically. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 50 percent of all paper, 34 percent of all plastic soft-drink bottles, 45 percent of all aluminum beer and soft-drink cans, 63 percent of all steel packaging, and 67 percent of all major appliances are now recycled

To support future generations of recyclers, Doubletree Hotels' Teaching Kids to CARE initiative is educating elementary school students about their roles in caring for the environment by challenging them to create fun solutions that could some day save the Earth. Students will work hand in hand with teachers and hotel team members to "imagine" how they would turn recyclable household products into "eco-friendly" solutions that help the environment.

For those parents and teachers wanting to encourage their kids and students to increase their eco-friendly practices, here are a few tips:

1. No trash week-Challenge your family or class to lower their trash output. Several easy tips to follow include using reusable bags when shopping at the grocery store and bringing plastic storage containers (or even better, reused jars or plastic tubs) for leftovers with you when you eat out.

2. Buy recycled materials- Encourage kids to be environmentally accountable by being responsible purchasers. Recycled paper towels, plastic waste bags and inkjet cartridges are just a few of the items available. The EPA estimates that one ton of recycled paper also saves 2,000 kilowatt hours of electricity, 3,000 gallons of water and keeps 30 pounds of air pollution out of the sky.

3. Cut out bottled water-Each year more than 4 billion pounds of plastic bottles end up in landfills or as roadside litter. Plastic bottles also require massive amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport. Instead, encourage the use of sturdy plastic bottles which can be repeatedly filled and washed.

4. Use the "off" switch-Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a room and powering off major appliances. Make a game of it and create a family or class chart and recognize efforts by tallying points for turning off lights and the television, etc. Reward kids with a special treat.

5. Recharge those batteries-Purchase rechargeable batteries and teach your children how to recharge batteries for their toys. This not only helps to reduce garbage, but also keeps toxic metals such as mercury (found in some batteries) from getting into the environment.
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