Many of us have heard the phrase "reduce, reuse, recycle." Yet too often, we skip the "reuse" portion. Wasting things create--you guessed it--waste. Your challenge is to find five items that are quickly thrown away or placed into the recycling bin in your home. Think of a new use for each item. How can the item be utilized again before it leaves your home? How can using the item in this new way save money? Click here to print.
Students learn and create clever ways to reuse common items before these items end up in the garbage or recycling bin. This is a fun way to introduce students in grades 2-6 to the concept of thrift, a precursor to personal finance and economics studies in later grades. To inspire students, check out our National Thrift Week board on Pinterest here.
As an economics lesson, they key is to put a dollar value on the money saved. For example, a popular hack (seen here) is to use the plastic closure tags on bread bags to identify electrical cords. "Professional" cord ID tags can be bought in sets of a dozen for about $10.00. By using bread bag tags instead, a family saves $10.00. Other ideas might include saving the funny pages from the newspaper to use as gift wrapping paper, using a parent's old smart phone as an eReader (via wifi and an app like Kindle or Google Reader), or cutting up old towels to use as rags.