Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Educating the family

Sometimes the family can make you scream!
So, we're only in Day 2 of the Rubbish Diet Challenge and several of the volunteers - and other folk  - are already confessing their first major hurdle ... and that's the recycling bin saboteurs who strike when their backs are turned!

The question I've been asked is how the heck do you educate other family members to get on board with your goal of slimming that bin!

This is a tricky one, especially if others in your household don't have the same amount of patience as you, or even think that recycling is a futile exercise,  And then there's the issue that recycling is often not as straight-forward as it should be, so without proper supervision they get confused.

Confusion is probably the easiest obstacle to tackle.  The first step is to list the rules and place it next to your recycling bin. I would suggest placing a copy on your rubbish too for double measure.  If you're a family with young children, it might be possible to task them with creating a poster with pictures of the things that should go in the recycling bin and hope they follow the rules if they've taken some ownership on the matter.  From a practical perspective you may also need to provide some extra boxes, to make it more simple.

If children are the main culprits, you could suggest they compete against each other to see who can create the least rubbish each week. Give them a box or a carrier bag each to collect their personal rubbish and see how they go.  Warning! Incentives may be required.

Even adults might want to give this a try.  For inspiration, I recommend paying a visit to the Clean Bin Project, where Jen and Grant challenged each other to see who could create the least waste for a whole year.  Yes a year!  Those taking part in The Rubbish Diet Challenge will now be grateful that this is just for eight weeks.

If the issue stretches beyond confusion over what can be recycled and moves into the area of values or different levels of patience, I woudn't want to meddle as I'm no expert in such matters, but I'd suggest expressing your feelings first and offer evidence that it is worthwhile, whether it's the £56\tonne landfill tax that we pay to dump our rubbish in the landfill, or the energy savings that are created as a result of recycling. 

The Recycle Now website is a great place to start for basic consumer information, and features useful videos.  The Recyclometer on the Coca-Cola website is also an informative resource.

For further information about policies and research that are being developed at a national level, across all sectors, including government, retail and manufacturing, I'd recommend delving into the WRAP website as well as WasteWatch, which is an educational charity.

Of course another aspect of education is food waste, but this issue is a total minefield and worthy of a blogpost of its own, which I plan to visit in a few weeks time.

This blogpost offers an insight into how things have worked in our family and amongst some of the households with whom I've discussed this issue before. And trust me, my husband is not always the most patient when it comes to recycling or my piles of stuff waiting for the charity shop run!  If you've found other ways of getting your family on board, I'd love to know, so please do share.


On Twitter?  Then do join in the conversation using the hashtag #therubbishdiet or tweet @KarenCannard


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin