Any time of year is a good time to de-clutter in our homes and work places. In the child care setting, it’s good practice to keep things circulating – like the toys and books that we rotate through our classrooms, it’s important to take a good look at our waste management processes and storage areas regularly.
- Reduce waste by buying in bulk when you can to avoid packaging waste. Choose recycled content when possible. Choose high quality durable items.
- Re-use until it needs to be replaced. If it’s still in good condition and you are NOT using it, put it back into circulation by donating or consigning it.
- Repair items to extend the lifetime of the object. Keep safety in mind. Don’t try to repair equipment on the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall list.
- Re-purpose what you can – paper, fabric, some plastics and cardboard can become good art and building materials.
- Recycle excess cardboard, paper, most plastics, some glass. Check with your municipality for recycling policies and collection procedures.
- Recycle fruit and vegetable scraps by composting indoors or outdoors to become fertilizer for your child care vegetable garden! Composting is a valuable activity that helps young children develop observation, math and science skills, language and literacy skills and empathy. By starting an indoor worm bin you have year-round curriculum!
- Redirect the hazardous stuff – like adhesives or paint, aerosol cans, leftover cleaning products, dead batteries and more. In Iowa, you can take these items to your solid waste collection site. At home, you may discover expired or unused over-the-counter medications. Do. NOT. Flush. Take them to your pharmacy to be disposed of properly. Controlled substances like prescription pain medications should be taken to your local law enforcement agency. Some have designated outdoor drop boxes you can drive up to so no need to be there during business hours.
Kristi Cooper, is a Human Sciences specialist who composts her lunch scraps with red wigglers at home and at work 🙂