Parents of Influence

Why sorting waste is important to my family

Mom-of-two Tovah Novak on how with a few small changes—and some positive reinforcement—waste management became a fun family affair.

By Tovah Novak
Why sorting waste is important to my family
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Sorting waste has an impact way beyond our kitchens, garbage bins and even communities. By properly sorting recycling from garbage and compost, we’re helping to improve air and water quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions! Properly sorting waste means that less ends up in landfills and more of what we throw away can be reused and recycled.

As a parent, I want a better and healthier planet for my kids (and eventually grandkids!) and this definitely starts at home. My kids turn to me to set an example, and as they say: monkey see monkey do, so I make sure to set the right examples at home by actively talking to them, encouraging them and helping them learn about composting, recycling and the impact we have on our environment!

I’ve learned that the key to getting kids excited about anything is to make it interesting and fun so I’m sharing a few ways to help you get your kids excited about waste management!

Why sorting waste is important to my family

Make sure your kids feel as though they’re part of the process

Don’t be afraid to give your kids some responsibilities and tasks when it comes to recycling, composting and sorting garbage in your home. Even the smallest jobs, like taking the bag out of the box, will get them excited about helping you. My youngest, who is two and a half, loves to help cheer on his older brother, 4, as he helps me change the garbage bags in our kitchen.

As they’re helping you change the bags, talk to them about how much they’ve managed to recycle and compost and what that means for the planet. Help them understand the huge impact that they’re having by doing their part. My youngest son loves animals, so we talk about his favourite animals and how he’s helping to protect their homes by sorting waste.

Turn it into a game

Anything can be fun and exciting when it’s turned into a game! With my youngest, we love counting how many items he can help me put in our recycling bag, and with my oldest, I’m able to challenge him a bit more by letting him figure out whether items go in the garbage, into compost or in the recycling. It’s a great exercise and it helps both of my kids get excited about sorting waste in our kitchen.

Why sorting waste is important to my family

Celebrate the wins

Finally, we’re big fans of positive reinforcement and love rewarding great behaviour. To encourage my children to keep recycling, we ordered some sticker charts and every time our kids remember to clean up after a snack or after dinner and properly sort their waste, they get to add a sticker to the chart. They’re rewarded when the chart fills up! It doesn’t have to be a material reward, either. My oldest loves staying up late and my youngest loves dessert, so their rewards are a later bedtime and being able to choose what dessert we eat that weekend.


Once your children start getting excited about recycling and sorting garbage, they’ll want to help do it all the time, so make sure you choose a brand of bag that is a reliable product for all of your different waste needs. We choose GLAD because they provide strong products to help us with all our waste management needs.

Join my family and I as we help GLAD in the effort to divert 3 million tonnes of waste from landfills by 2030.

Click here for more information about GLAD, their commitment to the environment and their lineup of products.

Read more on sustainability here: 
Why sorting waste is important to my family Why sorting waste is important to my family
This article was originally published on Nov 05, 2021

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